Our desire is usually for the biggest and the best. We have been convinced by advertising and the world around us to never settle, always look for something bigger and better.

This is how my boys and I approach fishing. Every time we hit the pond we hope to reel in a really big fish. Unfortunately, we haven’t hooked that trophy bass yet, so we are always looking for new techniques, baits, and locations to help us reel in larger fish. Still, most of our catches are pretty small.

Life is a lot like fishing. Whether we recognize it or not, we are always casting our line of relationship. Each person we encounter decides whether to take our bait or move on to something more tempting. We are always hoping to reel in a “big fish”, but they are few and far between.

These “big fish” are the friendships that we deem rewarding because of what they provide to us. They usually involve little work and lots of fun. We like our bonds to be pleasant, free of turmoil and trauma.

Often, unintentionally, we hook people we measure as “small fish.” A relationship begins to develop that we weren’t looking for. It’s takes up a lot of our time and is unpleasant. Maybe the person is too needy and we don’t want to take time to help with their problems. We relate briefly, but then seek to throw them back in the pond as quickly as we can.

We determine our time is better spent somewhere else: with the “big fish” we have already caught, or out seeking a better catch. We seek relationships where we can receive rather than give.

However, those “small fish” that grab hold of our lines have an acute need for strong, giving relationships. They have troubles in their lives they don’t know how to deal with. They are hoping desperately that we will help. Your bait was appealing and they have grabbed on and won’t let go.

Are you avoiding these “small fish” so you can focus on the “trophies” you already have on your wall? Are you releasing despondent people that need your companionship because the affiliation lacks a pleasant fragrance? Are you focusing on relationships that give rather than take?

Life’s not about what we need, it’s about who needs us… a life we can touch by casting in their direction. We need to reel in those fish that need us and grow the relationship into one we can proudly display.

When we focus on our needs, the needs of others go unmet. We can miss opportunities to change peoples lives and help them grow.

Keep the fish you catch, despite their size. Feed them. Nurture them. Help them grow into trophies.  Then, teach them to fish. Show them mercy, so they can go out and do likewise.

How do you nurture the “small fish” you reel in?

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