Once upon a time, in a small town, there was an old fisherman. Every day for him, was much the same. He would get up, pray and spend the day serving the Lord. He was a simple guy, and was always thankful for the blessings God gave, even when they didn’t really seem like blessings to other people.
As time went by, the small town began to change. It started to get modern and the pace started to change, but not for the fisherman. He would get up, pray, and spend the day serving the Lord. He was just that simple guy.
Eventually, one day, he got up and he noticed that the small town wasn’t much like the one he knew as a boy. People spent all their time inside, in front of computers. Kids didn’t run and play barefoot in the neighborhood. Everyone jumped into their cars in the morning, and raced off to some job without talking to each other.
That morning when the fisherman got down on his knees to thank the Lord for his blessings, the Lord spoke to him. The Lord told him that he wanted to use him to show the people that faster, newer, and shiny wasn’t always better. He wanted to use the old fisherman to remind them to do things God’s way.
The old fisherman was humbled by the Lord’s request, and didn’t really know what to say. He tried to explain to God, that he was just an old man with bad knees. He said that he walked slower than he used to, and that he just didn’t understand the world as it was today. He said he didn’t really use computers or the fancy new phones.
God replied, “You’re exactly the man I need.” So the fisherman thanked the Lord, and got up to serve Him, just as he had done every other day.
That day, the old man was working in his yard with his granddaughter, and he was handed a flier for a fishing contest. The old man smiled at the paper, and thanked the young man who had given it to him. He set the flier aside, and then was surprised when his granddaughter started reading it aloud to him.
His granddaughter told him that first prize for winning the contest was a five hundred dollar prize. The young man said that with that much money, you could get the best fishing equipment money could buy. The fisherman smiled, and told them that you didn’t need any of those things, just a stick, a worm, and a hook. God would do the rest.
The young man laughed and said that he was an old fool. There is no way anyone could win a fishing contest without all those things. Then the Lord made himself clear. The old man signed the flier that very moment and handed the form back to the young man. He explained that he and his granddaughter would be at the contest the next day.
The next day, the old man and the little girl showed up at the contest. It was crowded with motor boats, fancy rods, and all the latest technologies. He had a single rod with a hook. As they signed in they were given a number and told they could start precisely at nine o’clock.
At nine o’clock he was still walking slowly to his spot. His knees still ached and it took longer than it used to, but he wasn’t in a rush. Around him things beeped and buzzed as the other contestants tried to pull the fish from the water. Other children watched as the other contestants used all this cool equipment to win the prize.
When the old fisherman got to his spot, he and his granddaughter set the pole aside. They knelt down on the soft mud of the shore and began to dig. The other fisherman laughed as the old man dug through the mud wasting his time. He would never win. The kids, however, saw something a lot more interesting than just watching a computer screen and ran to join him.
As technology raced around him, the old fisherman sat back and watched the children dig through the mud pulling out worms and putting them in a jar. He thanked the Lord while he watched the kids provide his bait. It took them a couple hours to find enough worms for the fishing.
When they were done, he slowly got to his feet, and showed the kids how to put a piece of the worm on the hook, lower it into the water, and wait for the bite. Within a few moments he had pulled a nice silver fish from the water. The kids all “oohed” and “aahed”. The old man simple thanked the Lord and did it again.
Within the next few minutes, the old fisherman had three more fish. The contestants around him started checking their equipment, and they couldn’t understand how he was doing it. Some changed their bait. Others tried new flies. Still others rebooted their radar systems. The old man thanked the Lord.
After his third fish, he decided it was time to rest. So he sat back against the shade of the tree, and handed his pole to his granddaughter. She was hesitant to take it, but he assured her she would be fine. He winked and reminded her that she knew the secret. Joined by the other children, she stood on the bank and fished as her Papa had taught her. As he dozed, she caught seven fish. Still, the other contestants couldn’t understand.
That afternoon, all the kids from the contest gathered at the bank with the old man and his granddaughter. They took turns passing the pole around, and after each fish they thanked the Lord for his blessings. Eventually the other contestants gave up, and joined the old man as well.
By the end of the contest, there was no doubt, that God’s way was the best. The old fisherman had gotten so many fish, that there was enough for everybody to take one home. At the end of the day, with a twinkle in his eye, he watched as his granddaughter accepted the cash prize for first place. He smiled as she thanked the Lord for his blessing.
One the way home, they stopped at their church and put the money in the offering. The old man asked his girl if she were sure, and she nodded. “He was the one that caught all the fish, so He should get the prize. Besides I feel like we have enough already.” The old man nodded, took the girl’s small hand in his and walked the rest of the way home.