Gone Fishing

You Love Fishing – Not The Fish

I told Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, that it was a perfect afternoon for fishing along the Vedder River yesterday. As I walked the trail beside the river, I spotted a good number of dedicated folks fishing at their favorite spots. I understand they were fishing for Chinook Salmon that enter the river in late July and for the other species of Salmon that keep appearing until their peak in late October. Ed said that he would have loved to have joined in the fishing if he had been there.

I promised that I’d show Ed the river when he comes to visit again. Last time he visited us, he and his son-in-law fished in the Fraser River, and he liked it. I asked Ed if he would continue to love fishing and playing golf if he could do them both every day. My old neighbor suggested that he enjoys fishing and playing golf because he cannot be at them every day. He does not love them enough to do them daily when he feels sick; it is terrible weather, or when he has had a stretch of not catching any fish, or when his golfing score has been pathetic.

How much love and time does one have to invest in becoming a better fisherman or golfer? The word love may describe how much someone enjoys doing an activity or sport. Ed loves fishing in that he has a great interest and pleasure in the activity of fishing. He also loves playing his guitar and singing. He will tell you how he loves his grandchildren.

For Christians, love is to define our relationship with God and each other.

Jesus, in the gospel of Matthew, says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving an activity or a sport may be much easier to do than loving our neighbors as ourselves. We may have trouble with the Golden Rule as Jesus taught it, “So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you.”

It is always wise to remember that when it comes to others, love is an act of our will or an attitude greater than feelings of affection, liking, or love. We may easily have a fondness or liking for some people, but not so with others. Liking or not liking others is neither a sin nor a virtue in the words of C. S. Lewis.  He writes, “Do not waste time bothering whether you love your neighbor; act as if you did. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you may presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.

Feelings come and go, but our willingness to love others is not an affection we feel towards others, but what we do to help others. God is love, and while we were still sinners, Jesus died to save us from our sins.  God’s love towards us is undeserved. Our loving includes doing good to both our friends and enemies. Those we like and those that we have trouble liking.

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Raymond Maher
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