Explanations for “The Old Fisherman” Reading
My name is Ken Hart. Our church started providing Daily Devotionals at the end of 2014. It has my been my privilege to put them together over this time period and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue with this ministry as we go forward. The Devotionals run Monday through Friday. Back around Thanksgiving I started posting stories on holidays and weekends. Stories are a big part of my work world. I have been a hospice Chaplain for over 8 years and the people I care for relate very well to stories. Going forward for a while, I thought I would post some of these stories on Saturdays and share on Sundays how I apply them to those I care for. The kind of needs I address day after day are universal and I am confident that the things I share on weekends will be helpful to everyone. This sharing coupled with the weekday Devotionals will give us something to relate to every day of each week.
Yesterday’s post is the ninth story I use in my work that I wanted to tell you about. This is one of my all time favorite stories. The old fisherman is a true hero to me. The qualities he displayed are surely the antithesis of the characteristics that make up the heroes our society seems to hold up, embrace, and emulate today. I love how the old fisherman found joy in serving others sacrificially in the midst of his own pain and suffering. Complaining, anger, bitterness, entitlement, self-absorption, etc. are far removed from this gentle, humble, selfless soul.
I appreciate how the lady in our story sizes up the old fisherman, “It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. He didn't tell it by way of complaint. In fact, every other sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.”
I find great value in how the lady in our story summarizes the impact of the of the old fisherman on those around him, “Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice (because of his appearance). But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illness would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.”
And of course the ending reflection of the lady in our story always moves me deeply, “I was imagining just such a scene in Heaven. ‘Here's an especially beautiful one,’ God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. ‘He won't mind starting in this small body.’ All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.” The story speaks for itself. A life oriented to God changes how life is lived and the effect it has on those around us.
Once again we see that the workings of faith in God are essential. As a hospice Chaplain I consistently talk about faith in two ways. First, faith is the assurance that God loves us and is with us in Spirit every moment of every day he gives to us and is always helping us get through life in the best way possible . In whatever we face, God majors on producing in us a great sense of well-being by providing the peace and comfort of his presence. Second, faith is the assurance that in addition to his being with us in Spirit while we are here, we will be with him forever in Heaven someday when he is ready for us and says, “come on home.”These assurances are a great source of peace and comfort for us, but all of this comes to us solely because we have first experienced peace with God through forgiveness in Christ.
The stories I share with the people I visit, allow me to share again and again this two-fold understanding of faith from different angles. Each week I will share them with you and it is my hope that the lessons of faith gained from them will bless your life in special ways.
Posted on Sun, March 11, 2018
by Ken Hart