Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Help (02/20/06)
- TITLE: Twilight Fishing
By mildred johnson
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The tea pot was singing unattended on the stove and sausage sizzled waiting to be rescued from a cast iron pan, but that didn’t stop Hiram Jackson from continuing his next thought. He stood at his friend’s back door insisting they talk about the new Pastor’s costly outreach ministry.
“It’s a waste of money!” He announced standing in the doorway wearing an old fishing hat. He and Andrew Coleman had been friends and fishing buddies for years.
“Are we fishing today?” Andy asked examining his friends outfit more closely.
“Yes,” Hiram confirmed, “and all I know is that for the 35 years that you were the Pastor, money was not wasted and we helped many people! That pastor needs your help, but since you retired you don’t seem to care what happens over there at the church. Hey, pour me a cup of that tea.”
Andy smiled as he retrieved another cup, and put another egg in the frying pan. “It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just not my responsibility.”
“Not your responsibility? You’re a respected member of the church Andy!” Hiram exclaimed as he dramatically banged the salt shaker on the table and then shoveled another teaspoon of sugar into his cup.
“I’m tired Hi!” Andy snapped, “My time is over, I’m an old man, with old ways who’s just ready to use his old poles to catch a few old fish!” He looked at Hiram, “how many times do I have to tell you that all that sugar isn’t healthy?”
“Your time isn’t over, that church still needs you.” Hiram muttered under his breath. He picked up a cloth napkin to reveal a treasure of warm rolls slathered in hot butter. Hiram smiled a devilish grin which turned into a laugh. “Now that’s healthy!”
Andy laughed as he reopened the sugar dish. After saying grace the two old men sat at the equally aging Formica table and enjoyed their meal.
After breakfast they grabbed their fishing gear and walked through town towards the lake. On the way they were nearly knocked over on the sidewalk by a woman sobbing uncontrollably. Andy maneuvered quickly, in an attempt to avoid a human collision.
“Excuse me” he said graciously, as she pushed by him, visibly shaken and continued down the sidewalk. ‘Comfort is a ministry’.
“What did you say Hi?” Andy asked.
“What? I didn’t say anything” Hiram stated as he kept walking down the street.
“Oh ok.” He could have sworn he heard Hiram say something. But right now his goal was on getting to the lake.
Screeeeech!!!!! The sound of car brakes drew attention to a homeless man trying to cross at the intersection. The cart that housed his scarce belongings nearly turned over as he barely made it to the opposite side without getting hit.
“Did you see that? Gonna kill somebody!” Hiram yelled towards the offending car. Andy looked at the man as he stood stabilizing his cart. ‘Provision is a ministry’.
He immediately looked at Hiram, but Hiram was ten feet in front of him, waving hello to someone. That was strange, he thought he heard someone.
The two men continued to walk, soon exchanging the noises of the town for the stillness surrounding the lake. Setting up, they both seemed immersed in their own thoughts. Andy felt strange, he wanted to go fishing today, but in a way he didn’t.
Foul words ended the silence. Several teenage boys were huddled between some trees, littered with beer bottles. “Oh great, you can’t even enjoy peace and quiet here.” Hiram grumbled.
“Just what we need, some……” Andy began, but then out of nowhere he heard, ‘Mentoring is a ministry’. And he suddenly realized the source of that voice. God was speaking to his heart. His mind immediately flashed back to the woman in need of comfort, and the man in need of provisions, and now maybe those teens needed a man in their lives to make a difference.
Andy’s heart was convicted, caressed, and challenged by the hand of God. Retirement didn’t mark the end of his ministry, but rather the beginning of a compassionate walk with the Savior. He could still be of help to the church and community.
“Hiram, I’ve got to go.” He began packing up his gear.
“What are talking about? There’s fish to be caught!” Hiram was bewildered.
“There’s LOTS of fish to be caught… out THERE!” He pointed his finger and steps towards town.
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