Sermoncitos, a family tradition
I go a fishing
After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to many, reorganized the apostles, and set them forth into full time service. However, they still had to live their own lives. At one point Peter said to Thomas, Nathanael, and four others, “I go a fishing. They say unto him, we also go with thee”. Although they were expert professional fishermen fishing on their home waters, they fished all night long with no success. In the morning Jesus appeared to them, told them where to fish, and they instantly had more large fish than they had ever caught before.
Peter put on his fisher’s coat and swam to shore, excited to see the Lord for the third time since the Crucifixion. Jesus built a fire and dined with the disciples on fish and bread that Jesus prepared. After eating, Jesus spent time instructing them, including the famous analogy, “feed my sheep”. My brother must have really studied this chapter of John 21, because it seems to be the way he has lived his rich, full life.
Born with a damaged heart, his reaction to this disability has been to become big hearted, his “murmur” turned into a shout for joy. Starting with a physical weakness, his reaction has been to become athletic. Unable to sleep, his reaction has been to be alert to the needs of others. He began at the testing lab, applied himself in college, and rose from floor sweeper to the top of his profession. He retired at a young age and has fulfilled one church mission after another, constantly in service to people and building the Kingdom of God. His disability did not slow him, it empowered him.
When I came to visit him, I wondered if I could keep up the pace. Indeed, everywhere he goes the people know and love him. It is hard to follow him, because he stops to reach out to everyone; and they return the favor with a smile and a kind comment. No wonder, he has developed skills I can only admire of connecting to others and reaching out to their needs. But what he said to me was, “I go a fishing”. I felt compelled to come along for the ride, and caught more than fish.
My brother follows the admonition in Psalms (3:4-7) to “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding”. As a result, he has “found favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man”. I sat with him in the back of the Sunday School class. His headache was severe, yet he opened the door for everyone, and like an usher greeted and spoke to everyone; and even carried a fussy baby into the hallway. He has reacted to his pain with sweetness, to darkness with light. He has not learned to raise his voice or judge others, but to have compassion to those suffering and offer healing to those in need.
Like Peter, he takes his brother fishing, and like Peter, finds the Lord there. Like Jesus he gets tired, but like Jesus he thinks of others more than himself, and with kindness he changes for good those around him. He does not set out the hay for the sheep and let them feed themselves, but he visits the people in their homes and touches everyone for good. Like Jesus, his meekness and lowliness of heart have qualified him, and he answers the call.