Fishing Bait
written by Rev Gary Heard

Here’s a new trick for fishing: use chicken as bait! “Of course!” is your natural response, “what better lure for fish than a fresh piece of raw chicken...” It’s a natural part of the food chain, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have believed it if my wife hadn’t caught a rather large (and might I say, tasty) silver trevally, using a hefty piece of raw chicken on the hook as bait. It struck me as quite bizarre that a fish could be attracted to a food source it had never known, and which contributed to its own demise. As far as I know, chickens have never swum, and fish have never eaten stir fry!!

But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and
harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. – Titus 6:9

We live in a generation where notions of self-denial are foreign. Recently an elite sportsman cost his club over half a million dollars by his failure to exercise self-control and practice some self-denial – let alone the impact of his actions on his own recovery. It is now held up as remarkable that an athlete might deny themselves in one form or other in order to achieve. We have created a culture of celebrity, largely established for its focus on people who consume or imbibe with some alacrity. And its cost is becoming increasingly evident.

While celebrities have sufficient means to avoid many of the consequences, the planet and the poorest of people are under increasing strain. Our levels of consumption have severely impacted on the natural resources available, with decreasing supplies of fresh water, fresh food, rudimentary health care and available fossil fuels matched by increase in pollution, recreational drug use, eating disorders, and damage to the environment. To continually surrender to our desires is to give up life itself. Our planet is dying for its peoples’ desires.

Many of the spiritual disciplines practiced through the centuries are hallmarks in relation to desire, reminding us that the key to life is not by satisfying our own desires but by surrendering them to a Greater Good. Whether it be fasting, prayer, alms-giving, community, or worship (to name only a few), the spiritual disciplines are a constant act of surrender of self to the search for God – a living affirmation that the best of human desires are those focused on another, or on the Other. It is not desire per se which is harmful, but our unwillingness to sift and harness it appropriately. Godly desire brings great and constructive reward (Ps 10:17). What are we doing to keep our desires in check and appropriately focused?

April 24, 2005
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