Friday, July 13, 2007

Entry: Short Story July 2 - July 13

Catch of the Day
by Stephanie Reed

Call me Simon. My brother Andy and I fish with our partners, James, John, and their dad, Zebedee. Fishing’s rough—I lost a fingernail when we hauled in this big catch.

My story started before sunup. We’d caught not one fish all night. We couldn’t catch a puff of wind in our sail. While we were washing our nets, this Guy hopped in our boat. He’s that Teacher, Jesus. A bunch of guys swarmed after Him. He said to set sail. Something in His face made me do it. Right away, a good breeze snapped the sail tight.

Things happen when Jesus is around, see? We don’t usually hang out with Him, but I did invite Him home after synagogue the other day. My wife’s mother makes awesome fish stew. Right before we got home, I remembered Mom said we were low on food—fishing hasn’t been good. Wait until she found out we had company!

I peeked in the door, but my wife didn’t see me. She knelt by Mom’s bed and begged God to save her. I stumbled over and touched Mom’s forehead. She moaned, “So hot!” Her eyes rolled back in her head. She was a goner.

My mouth was drier than the Sinai Desert in summer. I looked at Jesus. He touched Mom’s hand. One minute, she was all but dead, and the next, she’s up and well. She even stretched the stew to feed extra mouths and smiled. We all smiled.

So back to this morning. The mob screamed, “Jesus! Teach us!” Were they ever a sorry lot, all sick and maimed! Jesus took a breather while I dropped the anchor. Then He sat in the stern and taught the crowd. What He said sounded good to me. Andy and I had worked hard all night, so we kicked back in the bow with our hands behind our heads and enjoyed the breeze.

When Jesus sent the crowd home, I could have slept a week, but He saw our empty boat. He said, “Go deep and let down your net for a big catch.”

I squinted up at Him. He was serious! Now, I didn’t go to any fancy school, but I know fish. I’ve been to fish school; fish travel in schools, get it? My last name’s Bar-Jonah. That means ‘son of Jonah’. Ever hear a whale of a tale about another Jonah? So, see, I know fish.

Jesus knew about God stuff, but He had no clue about fish. He’s the kind of Guy that, when He says to do something, you just do it, though, so we went deep. When we stopped, I had to say it. “Not going to catch anything. Timing’s wrong.”

He shook out the net. Andy grabbed an end, so I shrugged. We fastened the net to the boat and stared at dead water.

The boat rocked. Right away, Jesus grabbed the net. “Rookie!” I thought. He smiled and pulled. I tugged. The net didn’t budge. I hauled until my back ached. Sweat poured off Andy. The net surfaced.

Sunrise touched the water with golden glints all spangled silver. The net looked like my mother-in-law’s fish stew on a good day, chock full of silvery fish.

I looked at Andy’s round eyes. I knew what he was thinking: “We can live a long time off this sale!” and “Fish fry!”

The fibers twisted. “It’s breaking!” I hollered.

Andy whistled for James and John to come quick. Their jaws dropped.

We scooped fish out of that net until our arms were numb. My fingernail ripped off and bled all over, and the salt water stung it. When we had the catch stowed away, our boats rode low. We were knee-deep in fish. We could barely tow our catch ashore. I was scared stiff. Good stuff like this just doesn’t happen to a guy like me.

I fell at Jesus’ knees. I said, “Master, depart from us! I am a sinful man!”

He tapped my shoulder. I looked up. “Don’t be afraid,” He told us, “From now on, you will catch men.”

So here we are. What did He mean, “catch men”? I have to know. I’m going to go with Him. My mother-in-law’s well, so my wife won’t be alone. Zebedee will sell our catch and divvy up the money for them while I follow Jesus. He knows how to catch fish. I can’t wait to see if He can really catch men!
Submitted by
Stephanie Reed

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