"Alafu?" (4 of 8)


A man from the west approached a fisherman relaxing on the shores of Lake Victoria and asked him, “Why aren’t you out in the water catching fish?”  “I’m enjoying my day, just relaxing” the man replied.  The westerner inquired again, “Don’t you want to catch fish?”  The fisherman answered, “Ok but and then?”
W: “Well… you would get more fish!”
F: “What would I do with more fish? - My family is not so big.”
W: “Well, you would have more fish to sell to the market.”
F: “To the market? - And then?”
W: “You would have more money and could buy more fishing nets, eventually maybe buy a nicer boat.”
F: “That sounds like a lot of work”  “And then after that?”
W: “You could catch and sell even more fish!”
F: “And then?”
W: Getting annoyed, “You would have more money - to support your family!”
F: “And then?”
W: “You could build a bigger house!!”
F: “And then?”
W: “You, you could…!!!”
The exchange continued back and forth until finally the western man said with resolve, “Look! Don’t you want to do something with your life?” – “I mean, don’t you want to be able to retire and relax someday?”
F: “Isn’t this what you already see me doing now?” –  “I am already happy and relaxed. Why would I go to the trouble of all your extra steps?”

Surely everyone has a God-given purpose – an identity and vocation that we are called to pursue and fulfill.  But, the story above helps us to gain the perspective that particularly in development work, our own plans and ways are not necessarily the best plans for someone else.  The question, "alafu?"- “and then?” is always a good place to start - to test the steps of an idea or program, to try and get to the final outcome of our plan; especially when it comes to social engagements, ministry and the intentions of making disciples.   We need to check our motives and ask the right questions.

Changing gears a bit, I'll put this Bible story here.  This first interaction between Jesus and these disciples always amazes me.
"While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.  And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.  And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.  Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him."  Matthew 4:18-22
It was a different conversation than the "Alafu" one above.  What must have they thought they were going to be doing?  Fishers of men?  How was that going to be putting food on their tables?  Jesus never let them down and gave them far more than they ever imagined.  This was the beginning of his ministry.  Calling out disciples, who would soon make the foundations of the church.  The Kingdom and reconciliation with God was at hand.

Jesus lived, died and rose again.  He is alive and active today.  The Holy Spirit is moving throughout the church, prompting us to respond to Jesus.  What is your answer?  And then?

Story adapted from “Ndere Troupe” – Kampala Cultural Centre

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