Reflecting into a prism and dispersing an array of glorious colors, the sunlight trickled down. It was the dawning of a new day in Jonah’s life, yet unlike the sunlight, it lacked color. Dread of the same old daily routine gnawed at him like barnacles on the hull of a boat. His mood was grim, and it sure didn’t help that last night’s dinner still sat in the pit of his stomach. Perhaps the queasiness originated from his intent to make a stand today. The fever within him burned too hot for an entire ocean to squelch.
Commencing over a mere week’s time, Jonah barely recollected how it all transpired. One of his students queried, “What is our purpose?” With those four simple words, Jonah was infected with an aliment of uncertainty. Ruminating on his purposefulness or lack of, he became dissatisfied with any of the answers. In fact, driven to discontent, Jonah decided to perform the unthinkable. He would approach the School Master. Today was that day.
While the School Master finished his business, Jonah watched closely, and finally, he spied an opening. Courage blind-sided him, and he glided up beside the School Master. The words croaked out quickly and concisely. No reason to keep the Master longer than was necessary. “Sir, what is my purpose? I feel like just another fish in the sea …well, so to speak. Um…anyway, I’d like to be unique. You know…special.”
As the School Master paused for an excruciatingly extended moment, trepidation replaced courage. Jonah suddenly wished he could dissolve. At long last, the Master spoke, “ Is not your work in the school purpose enough?”
“Yes! I mean no. I guess it isn’t, Sir,” blurted Jonah.
“Do you know what you ask? It requires sacrifice,” continued the Master.
“ I believe that I want to make a difference. Is…is that what you mean?” stuttered Jonah with uncertainty.
“ Yes. So be it. Go to the water's edge, eat of the food you find there, and you will have what you seek…purpose,” the Master finished.
Grabbing his hook and rod, Peter trekked towards the sea at a quickened pace. As he walked, he nimbly attached the hook to the line and baited it just as his father had taught him so long ago. Peter understood the wealth of the sea; his family had earned its livelihood from it for generations, but today, he fished for a more literal form of wealth. His heart was bursting with the anticipation of a mission Jesus had entrusted to him. While Peter didn’t fancy himself the brightest of fellows, there was one lesson he learned. When Jesus spoke, miracles followed, and Peter never tired of its awe. Approaching the bank, he cast his line with a familiar flick, which flooded memories of his father back into his thoughts. He settled down on the bank to wait. Patience was an assignment comprehended by all long-term fishermen, yet Peter still wrestled with it daily.
He reflected on the miraculous experiences of the week. Jesus’ words pierced his soul, healed the sick, and raised the dead. The possibilities were endless; dreams were dreams no more but realities. Surely, Jesus would stand up and take his rightful throne as King of the Jews, and Peter would be Jesus’ right-hand man, changing his existence, as he knew it. The days of being patient were coming to an end. Of that, he was certain.
Peter, delighted and startled by the pull on his line, yanked both his thoughts and the fish from their depths. Hoisting the squirming creature into both fists, he stole the life from it with the precision of a weathered fisherman. Prying open its mouth, the fish regurgitated the shekel, glistening in the palm of Peter’s hand. “Like a child, I will never tire of your glorious miracles, my Lord!” praised Peter. Glancing back at the fish, he declared, “And you, my plump friend, will make an excellent feast for my Master.” Peter turned and sprinted up the embankment, flinging his feast over his shoulder. Jonah had found his purpose after all.
Author’s Note: Even the creatures of the sea serve God’s purpose. Let us pray that we aren't required to be filleted to serve our God-given purpose.
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