The One that Didn’t Get Away

September 2, 2009 at 9:47 am | Posted in Biblical Violence | 5 Comments
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My grandfather, Leslie Cassels, was 94 years old when he went home to be with the Lord. Although I never had a chance to personally witness it, he used to fascinate me with stories of how he and his father, uncles, and brothers would go fishing when he was a boy.

Not having fishing rods or poles, they would wade into shallow, murky pits or ponds with relatively steep embankments. In the sides of the banks, well below the surface of the water, they could feel holes. Reaching into the holes, every so often, they would find a huge catfish lurking. Their technique was to suddenly seize hold of the fish, and attempt to wrestle it onto the shore bare-handed. The seizing was important, but it was only the beginning of the battle.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to his apprentice, Timothy, whom he had left to fulfill the office of evangelist at the church in Ephesus, he had greater concerns than catching catfish. But it seems that some of the same principles applied.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

I Timothy 6:12

The Holy Spirit, speaking through Paul, was concerned about the battle for the faith. In this battle, Timothy was to “lay hold” on the doctrine of eternal life. In other words, he was to seize it and hold on tight. But, as with the prize of a big catfish, the laying hold was only the beginning of the fight.

Timothy would have to struggle with three main types of enemies in his battle: (1) those who saw the freedom of the Gospel as a chance to rebel against the social order (I Timothy 6:1-2); (2) those that loved money (I Timothy 6:9-10); and (3) those who were proud of what they thought was their own knowledge, and who called it “science” (I Timothy 6:20).

When my grandfather heaved a wriggling fish onto shore, it meant his Depression-era family would eat well that night. When we, like Timothy, emerge victorious in the good fight of faith, we will feast at the eternal table of Lord, and receive a crown of righteousness. (II Timothy 4:7-8)


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