Fresh Fish

After a considerable drive, we arrived at the promised location. Vanessa and I were speechless. Not only was the location a stunning bay fringed with white sandy beach, all of which was surrounded by thickly canopied rolling hills; the house itself was quite literally a stone’s throw from the crisp, rolling surf.

Needless to say, it was a really wonderful holiday. One of the highlights was the fact that we were able to catch our own dinner every night. We would head out to ocean in our friend’s boat each day where we caught fresh Kahawai (New Zealand Snapper) in abundance. We would place our haul in foil with some salt and pepper and slices of lemon and pop them onto a hot barbecue plate. As you opened the foil you encountered the wonderful aroma of the succulent white fish. It seemed about the tastiest, freshest meal we had ever eaten.

Now I have no doubt in my mind that had we given our fish to an award winning chef, he would have prepared dishes that far surpassed that which our own simple efforts yielded. Perhaps, if you were to visit their restaurants, they would have served us a far more exotic type of fish and cooked it with a delicacy and skill we could never hope to reproduce. But I doubt that it would have been quite as satisfying as was a meal we had caught and freshly prepared ourselves.

You know the same is true with the Word of God. In I Timothy, the Apostle Paul exhorts the young minister to give great diligence and priority to his reading, expounding and application of the Word of God so that he might be a faithful minister.

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
I Timothy 4:13

In this sense we see the need for skilled ‘chefs’ who are well versed in their trade, so that they are able to create fine meals and delicacies to serve to their hungry patrons. They are afforded the time to invest in their meal preparations that is not available to most. That is because it is a fundamental, and in fact, primary responsibility entrusted to a minister of God.

As I listen to messages or read the books of the great men of God, I am indeed treated to delicacies I cannot hope to be able to prepare myself. And they are indeed a rich food for the soul. They have learned to fish in waters I could not hope to navigate myself without fear of drowning. They apply seasoning and rich ingredients that are not available in my own pantry. Yet often the most satisfying and nutritious ‘meals’ are enjoyed when I catch my own fish and prepare it fresh.

I would that more Christians would take the time to chart the Bible’s waters themselves and drop their own lines or nets. They need not be master chefs: theologians or college graduates; to be able to bring forth their own fish, to lay it fresh upon the grill of their heart and to enjoy a meal simply prepared.

And yet, so often today, devotional time is spent reading another’s material or their meditations from the Word. Sadly, much of this is often laden with ‘preservatives’ and is so over processed it no longer offers anything nutritious at all. We even rely on ‘apps’ on our phones and computers to feed us a quick devotional thought whilst we hurry through our busy day. That is the spiritual equivalent of a happy meal for breakfast.

Fresh fish can be caught and enjoyed by any and all. It is certain that we may, on occasions, enjoy richer meals caught from deeper waters and seasoned with a skill and finesses that belongs to the chefs. But like that Kawai, caught fresh and simply barbecued, nothing will ever taste quite as sweet as the fresh fish we catch for ourselves.

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