Fishing For Life: Insights for Living from a Jerk at the End of a Line. By Charles C. Bing, Burleson, TX: GraceLife Ministries, 2020. 112 pp. Paper, $8.
This title caught my eye. I am an avid fisherman who has fished for trout in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains my entire life. There are not many books written about fishing or that tell fishing stories. Since at least four of Jesus’ disciples were fisherman by trade, the book’s title also struck my interest.
Given that fishermen are stereotyped as being prone to lie, the test was on to see if there was any truth to be found in these pages by a writer who is both a fisherman and pastor. The premise of the book is that fishing and life go together. By life, he alludes to spiritual life too.
The book is a collection of stories about the writer’s experiences on many different fishing trips over the span of his lifetime. The stories are easy to read and interesting. Each chapter tells a story about a fishing trip, and often there will be an observation that relates the story to life and sometimes spiritual life.
JOTGES readers are not going to find deep spiritual discussions in this book or an analysis of a Biblical text. But that is not the point of the book, either. Rather, this is a testimony of sorts with the setting being fishing. If you are not interested in fishing, you may not enjoy this book. On the other hand, it could spur you to gain an interest in fishing.
Many may read the accounts with interest, comparing the writer’s experiences with their own. I found myself comparing observations too!
The book has a mild evangelistic appeal. Scattered throughout the pages are references to the writer’s own Christian experiences. For example, on p. 10 he describes when he became “born again” and began a new life. He says, “I believed in Jesus Christ as my Savior from sin and hell.” He tells us on p. 37 that he was 19 years old when he believed in Jesus Christ. On pp. 68-69 he writes, “Then He rose from the dead to offer us the free gift of eternal life by simply believing Him for it.”
On p. 74, he briefly mentions fishing for men. There he describes sharing spiritual truths during a fishing trip with a fishing pal. He remarks, we “were buoyed by the opportunity to share what was really important to us with someone who really wanted to know. Jesus called it ‘fishing for men.’”
In chapter 20 he mentions rewards and relates them to hardships. The hardship described in the chapter is a trip on a very nasty stretch of river with rapids. His point is that the hardships are worth the rewards.
The Afterword ends the book, and in it he makes a direct evangelistic appeal. He is direct and straightforward in his approach. He writes, “In this book, I have tried not to preach, but let the stories speak and lead where they will. But since this is the end of the book I will say a few words about how you can also have eternal life and abundant life. If you don’t want to know, simply close the book now – we are done.”
He then proceeds to describe Jesus’ work on the cross and tells the reader he can have eternal life by believing in Jesus for it and that the reader can know for certain he has eternal life, p. 98.
If you fish, then I recommend this book! If you don’t fish, oh, well!
Long Beach, CA