I just spent a week in a remote part of Montana fly fishing the Big Horn river for trout with about 12 other pastors and ministry leaders from literally all over the country.
I know, for some of you that sounds AMAZING, but I haven’t fished since I was a kid and I haven’t exactly made the outdoors a huge priority in this last season of my life.
My friend Dan Sallbaum invited me on this trip hosted by the Refuge Foundation. Dan is the Pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Merrit Island, FL and also serves as one of our overseers at Vortex.
Here’s four things I learned on this trip…
1. You have to intentionally create margin. I had to plan ahead and divvy out responsibility so that I could be gone for a week. It’s true for our lives, too. If we don’t get intentional about creating margin, we’ll live at an unsustainable pace that will rob us of spiritual, emotional, and relational health.
2. Fly fishing is hard work. The Big Horn river has almost three times the amount of trout that other ‘good’ rivers have and it took some work to learn how to fish. I was the only guy out of the 12 to NOT catch a fish on the first day, but on the last day I landed almost 10 of them. In life, anything worth doing is going to be hard work. Don’t run from a challenge. Embrace it.
3. With Jesus, friends come out of nowhere. There were several guys on this trip, Dan included, that I met in weird, happenstance circumstance, but I can see God using them in my life. The best things in life are found in the margins, and if we reduce the margin in our lives… we’ll miss them.
4. Hurting people are everywhere. As the weekend closed, one of my new pastor friends that I’d met on this trip told me this: “Man, I’m hurting in life right now.” He’s the Pastor of a very successful church and has a beautiful family. I’ve been there recently… hurting and broken and not sure who really cares about you.
When you get mad & flip off that lady that wasn’t paying attention and almost ran into you on the drive into work… maybe she just found out her husbands been cheating on her and her heads not really into the drive.
When you get impatient because someone won’t return your phone call in the evening, maybe you don’t realize they’re at home taking care of a spouse that’s struggling with an addiction nobody knows about.
Let’s endeavor to be the kind of folks that refuse to make ourselves the center of our own little worlds. Let’s love other graciously and generously.
After all, if you’re the center of your world… that’s a pretty small world and Jesus has so much more for you.