How Deep Is That River – (Mason Jennings)
“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime”
Sometimes when I close my eyes it all just feels like a lifetime, but then that still wouldn’t be honest enough…do you know what I mean? Do you ever just close your eyes and just think about your journey? You should. I’ve had a few lifetimes…This one was from 2 years ago…it was late in the afternoon, after a long day of hard work and I got a phone call, “Hey Adrian, no work tomorrow buddy…we’re going fishing.”
I was living way up north downtown in the city of Wilmington, Delaware. When I first moved I had been living with my girlfriend at the time and her wonderful, beautiful, and amazing family. (Without her and her family I would never be the man I am today. Honest statement. I really believe God placed them in my life for a big reason and I will forever be thankful and forever love them all.) I was having trouble finding work up there…and it was getting tough. One of her family friends owned and operated his own tile contracting business and he knew about my struggle to find work. At the time I was trying hard to do some freelance design work during the day for a state magazine while splitting my nights between bartending and taking night classes at a local design college. I was going back to school a few nights of the week and I loved every bit of it…but I needed work. Well this man called me up and gave me a job with no questions asked… he has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever met in my life and I know he didn’t even really need my help but he hired me anyway. I did not get to work for him long but I will forever be grateful for the jobs he gave me and the things he “taught” me. So one day after we had worked a long day ripping up tile he called me up and asked me if I wanted to go fishing…and of course I said yes! I couldn’t wait to catch some fish!
The next morning we loaded up his boat and headed out… I can still hear the sound of his boat as we rode up and down the Christina River all day long. We even went out into the Delaware River…and I remember thinking how big this river really was…it was amazing. But all day and night we rode up and down the river…talking, fishing, laughing…just spending time away from everything else in the world. I will go ahead and spoil the ending…we didn’t catch a single fish!…But after awhile I wasn’t worried about catching any fish because for that day I just felt free from the struggle…free from worry about work…and I just didn’t want the day to end. It helped me restore my faith a little bit. And I had a good friend to help me through that day. He taught me a lot, mainly how to take your time and give it to others. He could have done anything else that day, could have worked a job, could have been with his family, maybe asked someone else to fish…but he chose to spend an entire day with me when I really needed it the most…and I will never forget that day out on the river…not for a lifetime…
Why do you think I will never forget that day? What does it take for us to put our schedule aside for just a day, our phones, work, etc, and just spend some real time with someone who may need it? Maybe you don’t have a job right now, maybe you are in a situation like I was a couple years ago, so maybe you do have have time to spend with someone…the real question is how do we all choose to spend our time here? What if we chose to start giving some of our time each day to other people? Would it really make a difference in their life? In our lives too? And what does this teach us about God’s love?
“A few years back I lost my way. I was deep in the woods, I began to pray. I came to a river and I sat on its bank, it was cool and clear, I have Jesus to thank. I drank that water, yes, I drank it up, now every day I come back and fill my cup…Singing, how deep is that river? How deep is that river?”
Mason Jennings is a folk singer-songwriter from Honolulu, Hawaii. At an early age he moved with his family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and began playing guitar and writing songs at just the age of 13. Jennings would later drop out of school completely and move to Minneapolis to pursue his music career. In early 2008, after touring extensively with his music, Jennings was hand-picked by Jack Johnson and signed to his record label called Brushfire Records. When asked about his faith-searching song How Deep Is That River, Jennings said, “For me it’s that kind of questioning, and it’s about religion specifically for me, but it’s also the deeper question after religion, with God. I think that’s a big part of spirituality.”
Psalm 93:4 | Mightier than the waves of the sea is His love for you.
Psalm 93:4 tells us all about the mighty power of God so I want you to read that one more time and pause and think about it for just a minute…close you eyes and picture the largest waves in the sea…God’s love for you is forever larger than that wave…and that’s pretty awesome. Just like in Mason Jennings’ song in this entry, sometimes it seems normal to want to question how deep is that river, how deep is God’s love for us even when we know and believe in Him. Sometimes things don’t go our way, but always remember God is the one steering your boat…you are not always gonna catch the fish in your lifetime, it can even cause us to have doubts…but stay in the boat. And reach out to others and do unto them as you would have them do unto you.
Give A Man A Fish Challenge: I want you to think about someone you know that really needs someone to spend time with them and reach out to them. It could be a whole day or your time that you give them or it could just be 30 minutes…but please accept this challenge and help teach someone how to love for a lifetime…
The things you do for other people can have an amazing impact. The moments when we put our own needs aside and give our time to others can be so rewarding. I say give a man a fish…and teach them how to fish too…Sometimes we have to give someone a fish FIRST so they will want to learn how to fish NEXT. My friend up north gave me his time when I was in the truest need…and I am very grateful for him. In the same way God wants to give us His time, His love, and His grace. In this lifetime when troubles come and go, I pray we don’t worry about how deep the river may be, but we focus on who’s steering our boat. There is nothing deeper than God’s = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
(Feature post photo by Andrew Illarionov)
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