..."I will make you fishers of men."
(Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 4:19)
Even in the plush limo, Sam just could not get comfortable. The twelve hour flight had been filled with tears as well as with praising and thanking God. Now, as the car passed the old boarded up church, her thoughts drifted back to the first day on the lake. Joe had made the rounds of the run down neighborhood picking up boys and girls at every opportunity until the fifteen passenger van was full. Sam could remember the ride as if it was yesterday and the wild eyed excitement in the van. She remembered rounding the final corner and seeing the beautiful lake for the first time. Joe had helped all of the kids to get poles and other gear onto the pontoon boat. Her mind drifted back to that first Sunday morning spent fishing and hearing the story of someone called Jesus for the first time.
Another bout of tears began to fall as she remembered Joe's answer to her question about why they went out on the boat to learn about Jesus instead of going to that little church.
She remembered how he told her about the time that the two elders from that church came to Joe's lake lot to talk.
Joe had explained to her that he had started taking the children to that little church but the two men had asked him to stop because "They were just using up the church's resources and not bringing anything in." Sam remembered how when he told that story Joe had became physically ill and how it was never mentioned again.
Now, as the limo rounded that final corner and the lake lot came into view, the driver came to a sudden stop. Sam's jaw dropped as she lowered the window to see what was up. Her gaze fell upon a huge crowd that was even bigger than the crowds that she usually shared the gospel with around the world. She got out of the car and made her way to the boathouse and remembered the times that they had jumped off the roof into the lake for fun. Now she climbed the makeshift ladder and the crowd began to settle down.
She had spoken on Matthew chapter thirteen and the Parable of the Sower hundreds of times in many countries but it seemed like she was understanding the ending more now than ever before. As she read Jesus' explanation that the man who hears and understands the word produces a crop, she once again was amazed at the crop that was before her. The tears fell again as she breathed the words she knew Joe had always longed to hear; "Well done good and faithful servant."
The next four hours were filled with laughter, sobs, and more hugs than she could ever remember as the crowd filed past the casket. She never said goodbye to Joe as she was sure that he would be there to greet her at the very gates of heaven.