Lin Flake The Fishing Deacon
How often do we think about friends? When I reminisce back on our friendship, I find it unusual that Lin Flake and I connected as well and genuinely as we do. Lin is over thirty years my senior, our past at church and our love of the outdoors ignited our relationship.
It’s All About Jesus
Mr. Flake was there when Gina and I married, his advice for marriage was real and straightforward. “Richard, you MUST learn to die to yourself to remain in a happy marriage. And Remember, it’s ALL about Jesus.”
I’m pretty sure the “die to yourself” part was directed toward me and my self-centeredness and not as an overall plan for everyone, but it was well-received advice, and I’ve often reflected on this guidance when needed.
Not All About Fishing
Our six-decade relationship went from my youth to our grey hair. We traveled to the middle-east together and toured the Holy Land with Adrian Rogers, Annis Shorosh and Jim Whitmire. I was the tag-a-long teenager and troublemaker. He had to work out the logistics of catering to his wife Helen’s need to be on a kidney dialysis machine along the way. I’m sure we both had no idea how far our relationship would go.
Friends Need Each Other
During the winter we spent the coldest mornings driving my dad’s old boat up the Banana River to the deepest holes to catch trout in the 1970s. Looking back, I reckon that Lin’s desire for fishing probably outweighed his desire to know a snotty nosed youth. I had a boat; he wanted to go fishing. He had gas money, and I needed gas for fishing. It was a win-win for both of us, and the combination of fishing, church, and family bonded us for eternity.
Lin’s start on the Space Coast started with a local dive shop. According to him, self-indulgence with dreams of fishing and diving quickly faded when the financial realities of life hit. There was not a big enough market on Merritt Island to support a dive shop in the early 60s. Opening a window and garage door business provided Lin financial security.
The Flakes had arrived during the perfect storm in Brevard County, Florida. The space center was launching to the moon, the Jesus Movement had come and a young golden-tongued preacher, Adrian Rogers was rocketing his career at the First Baptist Church of Merritt Island. It was during this time that Flake sprang forth as a spiritual leader and mentor for his family and friends. According to Lin, “he was molded, chipped away and mostly dragged into submission. Every time I resisted God’s call; I was brought humbly back to His will. Each thing that God either took away or gave me, made me more like Jesus. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned it’s all about Jesus.”
Happy – Healthy – Holy
Recently, I was spending time with his son Daryl reminiscing about his father and talking about our families. Our thoughts turned to our children and their relationship with God. “My kids are Happy and Healthy and know the Lord,” I said. He acknowledged the same and added, “They need to be Happy, Healthy and Holy.” “Yeah, it’s difficult now to get the Holy thing with all the garbage thrown at them,” I thought.
Almost thirty years ago, Lin and I started a tradition of paddling up in the newly formed No-Motor-Zone in the northern end of the Banana River.
It was at this time, Lin’s ability to teach one-on-one shined. Trapped in the canoe with a fellow that had a passion for fishing and person to mentor was a divine appointment that would repeat itself more often than I care to admit. His gentleness was astoundedly awakening and stern. God’s word flowed from Lin’s lips, scripture was his friend. One of Lin’s last studies was from a book, The Search for Significance. He’d memorized the main points and always quoted them to me and others.
Search for Significance
Because of justification, you are completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. You no longer have to fear failure.
Because of reconciliation, you are totally accepted by God. You no longer have to fear rejection.
Because of propitiation, you are deeply loved by God. You no longer have to fear punishment, nor do you have to punish others.
Because of regeneration, you have been made brand-new, complete in Christ. You no longer need to experience the pain of shame.
It’s Never Too Late to Reconnect
Recent years had not allowed us to spend as much time as we’d both have liked. Our church dynamics have changed, my responsibilities grew, but our paths touched each other regularly. We had him over for lunch one afternoon; he pleaded Gina and
Several weeks ago my father received a call from Lin complaining about disorientation and numbing in his arm. The ambulance ride would happen while I was fishing on the lagoon.