Don't Bring It In the Boat

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

A Golden moray eelI love to fish, though I rarely get the chance. On a recent evening while vacationing in Florida, my daughter and I joined several people on a drift boat to try our luck. While others were hauling in yellowtail snappers, I caught a grunt, a bait fish, and an eel—nothing to brag about. The eel gave the most fight, wrapping its body around the line in a frenzied attempt at escape. As soon as the crew realized what I was hauling out of the ocean, they started shouting, “Don’t bring it in the boat! Don’t bring it in the boat!” I assure you I had no intention of hauling that ugly sucker inside the boat. I knew enough about eels to be cautious, realizing their razor-like teeth can inflict severe injuries. The crew simply cut the line, and it was over.

My encounter with that hapless eel made me think of the crew’s warning: Don’t bring it in the boat! What if instead of an eel I had caught something dangerous that looked like a trophy fish? Would I have recognized the risk, or would I have kept reeling in the line?

The more I thought about it, the more I wondered about the things we haul into our own lives: certain relationships, habits, and ways of thinking. Some of these might not seem so dangerous at first. An innocent flirtation with a married man. A habit of doubting God’s goodness. Taking too much prescription medicine. Patterns of bitterness or complaining. An addiction to buying things. All these can inflict incredible damage, stealing our joy and peace. The best way to avoid damage is to simply cut the line. Don’t even bring it in the boat.

Ask the Lord today if there’s anything you’ve been bringing into your boat that doesn’t belong there. If there is, ask him to give you the grace to cut the line and make an end of it, keeping you out of harm’s way.

(Image courtesy of Crystl0202 at

Originally published June 08, 2015.

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