The next time my best friend, Joe and his Mother came to visit, they were carrying a boat in their pickup truck. Everyone was ready, so we were soon on our way to a river shoot, which is a small body of water that is formed between the levy and the Mississippi River. They are from one mile to several miles long. It is a pleasant experience to fish along the shoot because you sometimes see deer wadding or swimming across. Then there are beavers, owls, cranes, and bullfrogs and that's just a few of the sights. With a picnic lunch and drinks, it makes a good outing. We were fishing for Crappy, the best fish in the world.
Today we will use live minnows as our bait ~~~
Since I am so little and a girl, it came as no surprise that I squealed at having to put a minnow on the hook.
"I don't want to stick a hook in the minnow because it will hurt him." My Mom said, "It doesn't hurt any more than a shot at the doctor's office hurts you." "Yes Mom, but the shot is good for me, the minnow is going to be caught by a fish and eaten because he can't run fast with a hook in him."
"Well, it's like this Anna, when the fish catches the minnow, we catch the fish, and lots of times the minnow gets away with only a sore back. You watch when you catch a fish you will see the minnow come to the top and swim away. His back will get well like you do from the shot, and you will have fish for dinner."
"Mom," Joe was curious, "Why does the fish bite the minnow, can't he see the hook and line?" "I suppose he can, but it looks so easy to catch the minnow. He says I will spit out the hook, and have no harm, a little like young folks who start habits like smoking, doing drugs, and drinking alcohol. They think, 'I can join my friends and have fun and when I want to, I can stop smoking or drinking anytime,' but it never works that way in reality."
Joe felt the boat serge forward and felt the wind in his face as his Mom steered the boat further up river ~~~
"I know lots of people who smoke," said Joe. "Why can't they quit when they want to? I could."
"Many of those that take up smoking think they can stop whenever they want to," said his Mom. "What they don't know is the habit is like this hook: it snags the person and won't let go, just like the hook does the fish. And even though he knows it is bad for him he can't quit."
"Why does a person start then?" I asked. "Oh, there are many reasons," Joe's Mom said. "Most start because the ones they hang out with are doing it. Then someone else will start because he is doing the same thing. Kind of like a chain reaction, you might say. So don't ever do things that would cause someone else to start bad habits and do bad things like cussing, lying, being jealous and hateful, plus the other things we just talked about."
"Wow that's a lot of things not to do," said Joe. "Yes it is, but what good would you get from doing any of them? If you lie, no one would trust you." "Mom," I asked, "You wouldn't trust me to go down to the bayou, and I don't tell lies. "Well dear, there are lots of things you don't know about yet. If you were on the bayou looking at the ducks, you might step on a snake." " What about when I am older Mom?" "Then I will trust you to go to the bayou alone," my Mom said gently. "But there are other places I won't trust you to go alone. You see, at each stage of life there is wisdom required to be safe, and one must grow in wisdom and knowledge to be safe from the things that could hurt them."
"I still don't see the big hang-up about smoking being so wrong?" Joe questioned again. "I know it cost a lot of money and some people can't be around others when they are smoking, because it makes them sick. But if one is not near other people when they are smoking is it wrong?"
Joe's Mom asked him, "Joe did you ever see your dad clean the air conditioner filter?"
"Sure one time when he forgot to clean it, he had to buy a new one because it was so dirty."
"That is why one should not smoke. When you smoke your lungs draw in air, then separates the oxygen from it, putting the oxygen into the blood, which the heart pumps around the body system." She took a breath and continued, "Smoke from cigarettes goes into the lungs and is filtered like the air conditioner filters out the dust. When one has smoked a long time, the valves of the lungs get stopped up like the air conditioner filter, and then the smoker has to suck in more air to get enough oxygen for his blood. Pretty soon you can hear them wheezing and coughing a lot and what they need are new lungs."
While they were talking Anna's Mom said, "Joe your cork is going down better pull him in."
When Joe pulled his hook up there was a large Bass on the hook ~~~
Joe cried, "Momma, Momma, I got one! I got one!"
"You don't have him yet son, you have to get him in the boat first, his Mom said, while grabbing frantically for the dip net.
When his Mom dipped up the Bass with the dip net, there were lots of oohs and ahs, about how big it was.
"I don't have one yet," I replied sadly. "Well, you should have used a minnow like we did," said my Mom.
I decided that I needed a minnow if I was going to catch a big fish like my friend Joe. I was having an awful time pulling my line up out of the water; it was heavy, so I had to pull harder. When I finally got it out of the water I asked my Mom, "What’s that on my hook?" "That is a turtle," she gripped," "And we'll have a hard time getting him off the hook I'm afraid."
Just about the same time Joe's Mom caught a large fish and was having a hard time getting him to the top. It was a Carp that was too big for her line when suddenly he broke it and swam away. "How will he ever get that hook out of his mouth, Mom?" Joe asked.
His Mom told him, "The fish has acid in its body, which will cause the hook to rust in a few days, and it will fall out and won't hurt him at all." They were moving to another location, when Joe asked how does a man get a new lung, if his filter gets stopped up. His Mom said, "Sometimes, someone gets killed in a car wreck, and they take his lung out and then they place it into a man or woman who has bad lungs. This takes a lot of money and sometimes it doesn't even work."
"I am not ever going to smoke then," said Joe. "I don't want someone else's lung in me, especially someone I don't even know." Joe sat wondering and then asked, "But Mom, how can drinking hurt anyone? I know they wobble when they walk, and if they get caught driving while drinking they have to give the officer a lot of money, but when they stay at home and drink that should be all right, shouldn't it?"
"Not so," said his Mom, "They sometimes beat their children, and, wife, or get hurt falling off a building, and God said no drunkard would get into heaven. "Where will they go then?" I asked.
All of a sudden Mom's face became real serious looking ~~~
"There is only one other place, it is called the Lake of Fire. Jesus said a lot about it while he was on earth. I know you both have heard about this place in your Bible Class. So I think it would be better if you put these habits that we have talked about on your list of things-not to start, or it will catch you like a hook." This made sense to me and I understood. Right away I said, "Or you may not be able to get loose hu?"
"That's right Anna," said my Mom. About that time my cork went under and I pulled up a nice Crappy.
I am glad I used a minnow ~~~
Then I noticed the minnow in the water. I pointed my finger at it and said, "Look, there is the minnow swimming away like you said Mom."
They all began catching fish and were too busy to discuss the pitfalls of life for the rest of the day.
It was a very pleasant day for all; and they were talking about
going fishing together again real soon ~~~
There are many pitfalls we will all face in this life, so don't let them catch you like a hook. Be a leader not a follower, unless it is the Lord Jesus Christ that you are following. If you follow him you will not get into as many hurtful things in this life. You will certainly not have as much heartache as those that follow the devil will have.
God is here to help you to live a peaceable life, a good life ~~~
Elder Carl Stewart
House of Prayer Sabbath Ministries
Written: October 1998
Copyright: 2001 ©