“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” — Matthew 10:16
One of my favorite activities throughout the summer is fishing. Whether in a small pond or a large river, fishing has always been something that speaks to me because it allows me to spend hours basking in God’s creation.
While we as humans may enjoy the simple, relaxing act of fishing, the situation is much different on the other side of the line. The unfortunate fish who originally planned to grab a quick meal suddenly finds itself being pulled from its home to a place it isn’t meant to survive. Many end up being a meal themselves.
A simple examination of the bait they are about to consume would reveal the danger of the hook, but fish instead choose the short-term gratification placed before them. Their simple decision to satiate a fleeting desire results in permanent and drastic consequences.
While we often think of fish as foolish creatures for falling for the trap, we humans make the same mistakes. Many times, we find ourselves circumventing God’s plan for our lives, instead choosing to follow own plan that results in immediate gratification. We see the glimmer of the bait without taking time to examine the potential consequences of our actions. We spend our time looking for what seems pleasurable — money, sex and power — without seeing the trap. We don’t even notice anything is wrong until we feel the hook and realize it is too late.
Thankfully, the Bible provides clear instruction on how to avoid these traps; it is full of commands to be wise. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Why would we forsake the blessings of God for sin that may bring us temporary happiness but rob us of eternal joy? Sin removes us from the environment in which we thrive — serving God — into a world of pain and eventual death.
Adam and Eve made the same mistake we make each and every day when they were in Eden. Instead of relying on God’s goodness and the ability to eat from any other tree they wanted, they chose the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why did they make this mistake? In their short sightedness, they only saw the benefits without any of the cost. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3:6). It was only after they ate that they realized their mistake. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:7).
The simple decision to eat fruit from that particular tree resulted in a lifetime of pain and heartache, and a loss of the community they had with God. Much like a fish who chooses the wrong worm to eat, Adam’s and Eve’s decision resulted in dire consequences.
So, as we strive to live each day in the service of God, let us remember the fish and the cost of turning away from our Source of true nourishment and joy. As Shakespeare wrote in his play “The Merchant of Venice,” “All that glisters is not gold.”
— Christian Shields, Sports Spectrum
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