Purpose Driven Life article I felt lead to post

October 26, 2005

Truth from Fireman Joe
by John Fischer

Our thought for today comes from a fire captain in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He’s a relatively new Christian trying to overcome a not-so-good reputation — in other words, the last one most of his friends would have bet their money on becoming a Christian. He’s a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and is thrilled about his new relationship with Christ. “Getting off alcohol was a big step, but it only made me a sober drunk,” he said. “Now I have peace inside.”

I met Joe at a coffee shop outside of Atlantic City and as we talked, he pointed to a table around which a few of his relatives were seated, most of them new Christians as well, most of them prayed over by his mom who was there also. (Those praying moms will get you every time!)

“So have you heard of the difference between religion and spirituality?” he threw out as we were chatting next to the cappuccino machine.

“No. Tell me,” I replied.

“Religion is a guy in church thinking about fishing. Spirituality is a guy out fishing thinking about God.”

He surprised me with that one and I loved it. I can’t think of a better way to communicate what true worship is. True worship is not going to church and getting worship points. It is thinking about God in relation to everything else. Worship is not what you go to once a week, but what goes on in your head and your heart all the time.

“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men’” (Isaiah 29:13).

Something tells me Isaiah would have liked this fishing/spirituality thing. Not that we don’t go to church, of course, but that we don’t write that off as our worship experience for the week. That may be what we are most likely to call worship, but the rest of worship is life. It’s not the thoughts of God in church that make us worshipers; it’s the thoughts of God while doing everything else that we do.

And speaking of fishing, there’s certainly nothing directly related to spirituality about fishing; it’s just part of the analogy. However, it did happen to be the profession of some of Christ’s disciples, and I’m sure none of them ever went fishing again without thinking of their Master, who taught them more about life from a boat than He ever did from a synagogue.

John Fischer is the Senior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals. He resides in Southern California with his wife, Marti and son, Chandler. They also have two adult children, Christopher and Anne. John is a published author and popular speaker.


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