Let it be known up front, I’m not a fisherman. I don’t even like to fish all that much. I’ve been twice in my storied career and fell asleep both times. I apologize to all those who think fishing is as close to heaven we get in earth, I don’t mean to offend. It’s just the city boy in me I guess.
With all that said. This is just used for the sake of illustration.
To the fisherman – they bait their hook, they cast their line, and they hope to entice the scaly, swimming creatures to nibble and bite the hook. Once the bait is taken, the sportsman reels them in. Now he may be friendly and throw the frightened, gilled victim back in, or it may just end up being dinner.
But to fish – they’re swimming around, minding their own business, and see a little free meal in front of them. They nibble, taste the sweetness of a worm (eew, gross), and the feel the first little tug in their jaw. Next thing you know, they’re fighting for their lives and headed towards death and destruction. Little Nemo is somebody’s dinner.
This week, all over the country, bank accounts are getting some extra digits added to their totals. Washington DC is sending out the third round of ‘stimulus’ money. Not that I don’t mind money slipping into my account, I have to look at this in the big picture.
I want to believe the purpose is altruistic and politicians have the economy and individuals in mind. After all, it has been a tough year. But I also want to be realistic. Forget the whole ‘deeper into national debt’ discussion for now. Let’s just pretend we have that money sitting in a room some where (other than a Chinese bank). I see this more like bait on a hook.
After all … There’s no free lunch. Or … Make sure you look the gift horse in the mouth. And so many other sayings.
People will take the money, count themselves blessed, and bite that juicy morsel of bait in the form of extra money. But what they are biting is the hook that draws them in. Soon they’ll feel the first little tug … higher taxes. (And don’t fool yourself, taxes on corporations mean higher cost for consumers.) Then the battle begins. Fisherman fighting the fish.
But in this battle … I think nobody wins.
This week, I have been looking at James 1. Temptation. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
The temptation, the bait … it lures and entices. It’s like it’s saying, “It looks real good. Go ahead, charge that new shirt, even when you can’t afford it. Go ahead, look at that website, nobody will find out. Go ahead, one sip of that Jack Daniels, just one.” Enticing and luring.
People … consider the cost. There is always a cost.
And in the sin world, the cost is death. Death of relationships, death of finances, a slippery slope into addiction. I’m not saying this always happens in every case. But once sin is conceived, the baby will be born. And don’t say it’s only a little sin. That’s like saying one is only a little pregnant. You’re still pregnant.
In the long run, I pray for our country. I pray we stay strong and free which allows great opportunities for the church to share and care at home and around the world. But I also pray we are wise. That we avoid the enticement and lure of sin, as a nation and as individuals.
Today, choose wisely. Act with discernment. And don’t take nibble of that which leads to destruction.
If you’re struggling with temptation, if you need someone to pray with you … don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to a church around you. You are not in this alone and we all have gone through tough times.
Personal note on social welfare … Don’t get me wrong, I believe we should help people struggling. But social altruism should always be balanced with personal and familial responsibility, as well as community relationships.never in the Bible, when the land owners left part of the crop for those less fortunate, the ones in need still had to work to get the fruit. It wasn’t deposited directly into their account at First Bethlehem National Bank.