110928 fishers of men
I didn’t grow up near the water, in fact I’ve spent my entire life landlocked and happy that way.
Needless to say, living 5 feet above the ocean gives me a dull, uneasy feeling. I’m waiting for the day God brings in a rogue wave to wash me out to sea. I’ve asked the locals about how high the waves get. I think they answer me lightly just to appease me.
“It will be no problem!” they smile......mmmm-hmmmm. No problem for who, the fish?
I’ve watched on several occasions the way the fishermen work, and today I decided to grab my camera. As in anything that breathes in this world, I can see God’s signature in the way they work.
For one, they are several men, yet they work as one. Usually when I rise early in the morning and the color is just turning in the sky, within just a few minutes I can look out across the water and already there will be a boat filled with men, rowing out to favored fishing grounds.
Each man knows his job, and his place in the chain. He knows that he can’t be slack in his job, or the fish will find the weak link. Every heave is towards the bottom line, every exertion is a means to an end, to raise the quota of the catch today.
They begin to row hard as they can, in an effort to surprise the fish. The captain throws out the nets as quickly as he can bend down and grab them. Their isn’t a single snag in the line. It’s been perfectly coiled for this task.
As they drop the nets, every 50 feet or so a man drops into the water, forming a great ‘U’ shape to the beach. Once there is a man on each end of the net at the beach, the captain of the boat goes out to the far bend and the process of lifting the top of the net above the water begins.
Almost immediately the fish realize it’s a trap, and they start to jump out of the water, arcing in the air to clear the net. It’s amazing to me that they are so quickly aware, and they know how to escape.
Slow and sure the men on the shore begin to drag in the nets, one arms-length at a time. They are careful not to let the net come up from the ocean floor.
Their work is hard and steady, and constantly the captain is calling the shots from out in the boat. The men respond to his commands instantly. There is no quarreling. There is no question of rank. There is only obedience and a respect to the job at hand.
As the net draws in, local villagers begin to arrive on the scene. Most are smiling with joyful hearts in anticipation of maybe taking home some fish. The fishermen aren’t jealous or greedy, you see. They take what is there’s, but they allow the people to take what they need also. Everyone pitches in, from the smallest boy to the older men.
They begin to toss out the seaweed, but just enough to heave the nets up onto the beach. Then they sift through it all, searching for the prize, the treasure inside. Shiny...Glistening...Silver...Pwason! (Fish!)
The mama’s seem to be allowed to take the bigger shares. Even the vagabonds wait their turn. The alcoholic woman is there, standing beside me. She’s not yelling at me today. That's a nice change. I wonder if her liquor is tasting like piss and vinegar yet.... since that's been my prayer for her over the last few days....well, that and that she'd have a Come-To-Jesus.....She’s quiet, but she still asks me for a bible.
I tell her that today I’m praying for her. She’s quiet again.
After the catch is made, the fishermen begin once again to work as if they were one man. They clean the seaweed out of the nets and begin to neatly fold it up into the boat. From our beach they’ll row out to the nearby island and drop them again, and the way they fold them now makes all the difference in how fast they will be able to again throw the line.
They work hard. They work as one. They work tirelessly. They are prepared. They are not selfish. They are not greedy. They have morals and values and ethics. They desire to share. There is purpose in their labor, and they provide food.
Is it any wonder that the Son of God came to this Earth, and of all the traits, He chose fishermen to be among His disciples?
Simple fishermen, handpicked, to carry out the greatest mission the world has even known.
Today this land-lover understands his Bible just a little more than yesterday.