Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: Is He Fishing Anymore?
By Wayne Harris
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The man whose face had blotches of gray stubs all over it paddled his boat. His habit was to rise and launch out into the sea. It had been his habit nearly fifty-five years. He would rise early in the morning and spend undisturbed time with God.
He would listen to the rhythm of the sea and sounds he had loved since childhood. The sounds soothed his anxious soul. All of the problems discovered while living would lessen against the backdrop of a new Israeli day.
His heart yearned for a Messiah. As the cool sea breeze blew into his face, he prayed. “Dear Lord, I know that a child was born to save Your people. Many oral stories abound of a child that King Herod gave the order to kill. Where is He, Father? Surely, He is a man now. Please reveal Him and deliver Your people Israel from the Romans.”
Everyday the man prayed the same prayer. As birds would dive from above into the water to catch fish, he would listen for the voice of the Lord. The creatures reminded him of the Creator. In sixty years as an Israeli, he had never grown weary of watching the birds.
As his small wooden boat bounced atop the minor waves, he whispered, “Where is Simon Peter?” The hearty catcher of fish was strangely absent. Is he ill?
He closed his eyes and smiled. He loved the smell of the sea. Taking in a deep breath and lifting his hands heavenward, he waited for the Lord of heaven, Jehovah God Almighty, to show him whatever He pleased to show him.
He looked toward the shore. “Ah,” he said softly, “there is Simon Peter. Who is that with him?”
He waved but Simon Peter did not see him. Why did Simon seem so interested in the man who stood next to him? The man in the boat slowly massaged the bottom of his face. Feeling the whiskers, first with his palm, and then with his fingertips, he worked his hand downward until his fingers met beneath his chin. “What are they up to?” he said aloud.
Why was Simon Peter not doing what he had done for many years? Why was he not throwing in his net and catching fish? He was breaking his pattern. The man watched as curiosity came alive.
The man with Simon Peter turned and walked away, his back now facing the sea. Simon Peter followed.
The man in the boat scratched his head. Where is he going? he wondered.
He paddled vigorously toward shore. Shoulder joints ached as he rowed. His once young and strong back was not what it used to be and nobody had to tell him. He grunted numerous times as he paddled to shore.
Once ashore he spotted Elias, a young man, one who made himself available to help those whose business was fishing.
The man waved and shouted, “Elias! Elias!” The young man, bronzed by the sun, smiled and waved back.
The man motioned for Elias to come to him. Elias ran, his feet making tracks in the sand. “Greetings old friend.”
The young man walked down the shoreline with the older man. They talked about the Romans, the weather and the young man’s dreams of future heroics. Their talk eventually turned to Simon Peter.
The man asked Elias, “What has happened to Simon Peter?”
“You notice a change?”
“Where are his nets? Where is his boat? Why is he not on the sea?”
“They notice changes. A man told him he would become a fisher of men.”
“What does that mean?”
“The man said, ‘Follow Me’.
Simon dropped his nets and followed.”
“Who is the man?”
“They call Him Jesus Christ.”
“What is his trade?”
“Carpenter, but some whisper that he is the Son of God.”
“Simon Peter believes this?”
“Is he fishing anymore? Do you see him on the shore? He is doing what Jesus Christ told him to do. He is following Him.”
A unexpected word exploded in the old fisherman’s mind. Messiah!
“Where are you going?” asked Elias, surprised that the old man was walking away.
Elias followed. After a minute or so, he noticed three sets of tracks below. “Aha!” he said. “Old man, you are chasing after this Jesus, too? You believe, don’t you?”
Never raising his eyes from the tracks below, the old man trudged forward, muttering repeatedly, “Messiah!”
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