We had been planning this “First-in-a-Lifetime” experience for months.
An all-day guided fishing adventure on the Chesapeake Bay, near the mouth of the Rappahannock River in Virginia. A first for both of us. One more of those special “firsts” in life to be experienced together.
Finally, Today was the day.
We showed up at the marina at 7:45 AM as planned. Bundled up in many layers of warm clothing, thanks to the temperature barely breaking into the forties. The clear sunny sky was a welcome change, after five days of cold made all the colder by bone-chilling rain.
We were ready!!! 🙂
Unfortunately, the weather was not. 🙁
Our guide and his brother met us at the dock. In the span of just ten minutes, they had talked themselves out of a lucrative day’s wage. Why?
Because it was the right thing to do.
“… whatever is right… think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Between today’s high winds and white-capped rolling seas, soon to be exacerbated by a tidal shift, conditions were not only unfavorable for fishing… they were expected to become dangerous.
It would have been easy enough for these guides to downplay the conditions and take us out as planned. It was even predictable that we would request coming back in early, after the real conditions and the resulting poor fishing had robbed the day of any hope of fun.
Ending the day at our request and our expense… as they would, also quite predictably, pocket our fees for a fishing fiasco.
But instead of doing the easy thing, these guides did the harder thing. Telling us the truth, knowing they were forfeiting their day’s wages. Treating us in a way You, Lord, first spoke about over 2,000 years ago. The way that has become The Standard of standards.
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12)
What is Character? It is the sum of qualities that distinguishes a person.
“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Character is who we are even when — especially when — it costs us something.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Character is who we are when no one is watching. Of course, there is always Someone watching… isn’t there, Lord?
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? if I go up to the heavens, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me… even the darkness will not be dark to You… for darkness is as light to You.” (Psalm 139:7-8,12)
Character. Like a breath of fresh air in a culture that normally says, “Me first… and then you (maybe).” Or even, “Me, Me, Me only.”
We can’t always control our circumstances. Actually, we can’t ever control them… can we, Lord? The only thing we can control is how we choose to respond.
Like our two fishing guides today. Responding to circumstances they couldn’t control by doing the right thing. The costly thing.
I strongly suspect these guides were following in the footsteps of their Guide. The One who created the fish. The One who teaches all who follow Him to become fishers of people (Matthew 4:19).
Am I right, Lord? 🙂
I guess we’ll find out tomorrow. The weather is supposed to break tonight. We changed our schedules so we could honor these men of character by supporting their business. Maybe there are still some fish destined to be hooked in our immediate future?
Maybe we “fishermen” can even swap some stories about real “fish”…
… “fish” that didn’t “get away”… !!! 🙂
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8)
Gratefully hooked on You, Lord… 🙂