I recently took my kids fishing at the lake and almost immediately my son hooked a “big one”. Well, it was big enough for him to initially think it was pulling him in the water. However, with encouragement from me, he successfully reeled it in, and after we admired and celebrated his big catch, we let it go.
Afterwards, I couldn’t help but think how this adventure could be used as a teaching and faith building moment for my kids. What I realized was how similar most of us are to my son when it relates to pursuing our various goals in life. For those things we aspire, or go “fishing” for can often be elusive. Second, we have to apply strategy to “catch” them and finally, if and when we do reel them in, we might initially be surprised, feel uncertain, undeserving and even insecure about being able to handle the challenge. This is why having encouragement and support is so important to achieving any goal we have – which can often be narrowed to three foundational aspirations:
For Protection: One of the most basic needs and desires we all aspire for is safety. It’s also one of our greatest privileges (Psalm 78:72). Yet, as we cast our line in pursuit of financial, physical, emotional and/or relational protection, we often times simultaneously jeopardize our success. For example, by not improving our financial IQs, we continue applying poor financial habits that keep our businesses, families and finances vulnerable to potential predators, creditors and litigations. Thus, like my son who was scrambling to reel his catch in due to not possessing the experience and knowledge on how do do so confidently, he almost lost it. Likewise, we must take proactive steps in gaining the experience and expertise necessary to protecting those things we care most about.
For Provision: Possessing the abilities and opportunities to provide for ourselves and others is another grand catch we aspire for. This leads many to pursue advanced education, work long hours and/or hammer their gifts into polished skills that can be applied to provide. There is a great satisfaction in honest hard work. We feel as though we accomplish something and make impact (1 Timothy 5:8). However, there’s also great value in working smarter. My son for example had to tighten his line before he could reel in his prize. For the fish was pulling away despite his effort to reel it in. Largely because the line was loose, but as soon as we tightened it, the fish didn’t stand a chance. Similarly, what areas of our work can we tighten and stop spinning our wheels? Could it be in areas of spending, indulgence and/or distraction? Identifying these hindrances go a long way in aiding our provisions.
For Preparation: We all innately know the value of planning ahead. If we are going fishing, it helps to bring along a tackle box with all the supplies you will need. Likewise, whatever goals we are pursuing, it’s helpful to have a plan. To set out blindly, without a budget, strategy and/or resources is like casting our line in open water without bait. To grow in the various areas of our life, we must plan our time wisely (Proverbs 24:27). This goes for our finances, families, fitness and faith.
Application: “The Big One” – Matthew 6:33
As we set out in pursuit of our dreams and goals, it’s always helpful to know the why behind what we do. For example, the primary reason I take my son fishing is to spend time with him. The fishing is the catalyst and cause that brings us together to talk, teach, bond and share. My goal is to build our relationship, the fishing is a gateway to help do that. Likewise, answering the “whys” for other goals is equally beneficial. For example, why do we want more money? Why do we want a certain career and why do we work a what we do? The more we understand why we do what we do, or want to do, the more likely we are to align our priorities to help them become a reality. So, what’s the big one? Clearly, it’s our relationship with Jesus Christ. For through Him all things are possible, and He is the Father that can help us align our goals to be Godly desires and aligned under His purposes.