Gone Fishing (from Behind the Halo)

Does life ever get you down, Dear Reader? You're not the only one! What helps you move on to the next right thing?

            “Andrew, what do you think about John’s talk of repentance?”

            “All I know is that no matter how hard I try to be all the Pharisees say I should be and do, according to the law of Moses, I never quite measure up. It seems the harder I try, the bigger and deeper the hole in my gut gets.”

            “Do you think repentance is really the answer? Could it be as easy as confessing our failings, asking for forgiveness, and moving on?”

            “I don’t know. There’s got to be more to life than fishing, sometimes not even catching enough for breakfast, much less to sell. Fishing and a growing sense of failure.”

            “John says there’s someone coming after him. Someone who will take away the sins of the world. Our people have waited generations for a Savior. Do you think we would recognize him if we saw him?”

            “I don’t know, but for now the guy getting out of Simon’s boat seems to want our attention. What was he doing with Simon?”

            “Why don’t you go see what he wants while I finish cleaning this net?”

          Tired and hungry, Andrew trudged to the stranger, who seemed to be smiling like he knew him.

            Simon watched the exchange as he finished dragging his boat onto shore. He was still discouraged by another night’s work with nothing to show despite the stranger’s words to him and the people who had gathered around his boat. Too much to figure out. Like how could he give a tithe to the temple if there was nothing to tithe? Failure. Failure from within, failure from without. Is this all there is to life?

            Deep in thought, Simon didn’t see Andrew approach, chuckling and shaking his head. “You’re never going to believe this! The man talks like he knows us, and says to put the boats out again and throw the nets on the other side.”

            “He told me the same thing. Told me he knew we’d already fished all night for nothing. Doesn’t he have anything better to do than stalk fishermen and make promises to sick and broken people?” Simon grumbled.

            “Yeah, yeah. I know, but there was something about him, something in his voice, in his eyes when he looked at me,” Andrew answered, looking toward the stranger and rubbing his beard.

            “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but let’s give it a try. What do we have to lose?” Simon asked, already pushing his boat back toward the water.

          The face on the shore grew dimmer and dimmer as the fishermen rowed further and further out to sea. They couldn’t see his face beaming, or hear the chuckle brewing in his chest, as he prayed.

          “Thank you, Father. Thank you for the men you sent me. Thank you for their obedience, for the faith that comes before trust, and for the harvest of souls they will bring into your Kingdom,” Jesus prayed, then shaded his eyes to look at the fishermen in the bright morning light.

            “Pull, Simon, pull! I’ve never seen so many fish! Where did they come from?” Andrew bellowed.

            “I don’t know! I’m just thankful for the harvest and thankful we listened to the man. What did you say his name is?”

            “Jesus, I think. Look, he’s still on the shore. Wonder what he’s waiting for. Maybe he wants a portion of the catch.”

            The men’s voices dwindled down to silence as they strained to bring up net after net full of fish. Soon the boats could hold no more, and the waves seemed to propel them to the shore.

            The man, Jesus, who never left the shore, whose eyes never left Andrew and Simon, waited for them. As they pulled the listing boats onto land, they quickly saw and heard Jesus clap his hands and laugh out loud, like a child with a new toy.

            “Well done, my sons, well done!”

            “Thank you, and thanks for the advice. Our families can eat for weeks now!”

            “Andrew, Simon, catching the fish wasn’t amazing,” he chuckled. “Your amazing obedience brings joy to our Father’s heart. Come with me. There is more to life. Come, and I’ll make you fishers of men!”

I hope you are enjoying excerpts from BEHIND THE HALO. There are only a couple left in this series, but there's great news, Dear Reader. BEHIND THE HALO, over thirty stories exploring Jesus from a slightly different angle, debuts on Amazon NEXT WEEK!