For What It’s Worth

Backing down can sink your boat

Sometimes you catch the fish; sometimes you don’t. And sometimes, if you are backing down while fishing, the fish will sink your boat.

Not familiar with the term backing down as it relates to fishing? I wasn’t either until I read a story about a fisherman using the technique while trying to land a huge black marlin. It happened off Panama.

Complete details were not available at the time the story was written, but the account did contain the basics of what happened. A fisherman hooked a quite large black marlin and during the battle to land the fish the boat captain began backing down on the huge fish. Backing down, the story explained, is a common practice in big-game fishing when a fish is taking line. The captain puts the boat in reverse to chase the fish.

In this instance, the captain apparently fell as he was backing down on the fish at full throttle. Not good. The boat took on too much water and, finally, there was no correcting the situation. Taking on too much water, the boat sank. So, indirectly, the fish sank the boat. Or, as Marlin Magazine headlined a grouping of pictures of the incident: “Marlin Wins!”

We don’t have to fish too hard to see a lesson in this for all of us. We can sink ourselves if we start backing down, especially if we do it at full throttle.

Like the fisherman whose goal was landing that huge marlin, we can be on the verge of achieving a goal and decide that the best way to land our fish is to do some backing down. That may mean any of a variety of things. We could back down a bit on our faith instead of going forward with it. We might decide that a compromise we know in our heart we shouldn’t make is a way to achieve our goal. We might cultivate associations or relationships we know will damage our Christian witness.

We are captain of our boat and the choice is ours whether backing down is necessary to achieving our goal or whether the goal is worth the risks involved in backing down. Certainly, we need to remember that, if we go full throttle in backing down and we slip and fall, our boat may take on water and sink before we can arise from our fall and regain control of the throttle.

Be careful. Backing down can sink your boat.

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