Fishers of men
We went to Witsand recently and as we entered the quint little village my heart was once more captured by a very old church building as one enters the main road in Witsand.
As we left for home again I made a stop in front of this church so I could take pictures and “snoop” around a little so as to find what it is that fascinated me about this little church so much. I tell you, I was not disappointed at the little story the Lord allowed me to see, and therefore I wish to share it with you also, as it was so precious to me.
I walked up to the little gate and had to climb over it to get into the church yard. On the wall was a plaque with the name of the family who built the church and a brief summary of the history surrounding the building there of. It was built by the Barry family in 1849 when Port Beaufort was still a very affluent sea port.
It touched me deeply because as it is we as a church are also in the process of buying land and building our own church building. So seeing the long lasting effect really spoke to me. That plaque is like a remembrance as to who was willing to give up their selfish needs and put up capitol to build a church so people have a safe haven and sustainable food, food that does not perish but give eternal life. Spiritual food. There are still meetings being held there today.
As I carried on my “snooping” I looked at the graves right next to the building, and here some stories were told. The first minister had a family plot that is cordoned off and all family members get buried there as the generations pass. And then I found a very precious inscription on a very old grave with its own little fence around it. The inscription read: “In loving memory of my dearly beloved husband Albert Gdwin Stanford, drowned at Port Beaufort on January 3rd 1904. Born in England 1874. Aged 29 years and 7 months. Not gone from memory nor from love but gone to the Fathers home above. Sleep on beloved sleep and take thy rest and lay down thy weary head upon they Savior’s breast. We loved thee well but Jesus loves thee best.” It was just so precious, I could actually feel the woman’s love for her husband and at the same time the peace she made with his death. The Word says “Precious in the sight of the Lord are the death of His saints”, this was a picture of this scripture for me.
So I moved on and found in the back of the church building is a shipping yard of sorts. A place where the local fishermen take their fishing boats and repair them and take them to sea or up the Breede River again to fish. How significant I thought. Ships need a harbor, so also we as vessels of the Lord need a harbor, we need a shipping yard to return to when we need repairs to be done so we can work well out on the open seas and along the rivers and catching fish and bringing them in. The church is that for us, all week we minister in our place of influence, Sundays we come into the harbor bringing in our cargo, and sometimes after many weeks out at sea we need some repair work from the beatings we take as the storms of life rage.
I wanted to take a peek inside the windows and so I did. First thing I spotted was in the both corners of each window is a lantern. I was reminded of Matthew 25 where Jesus spoke about the ten virgins and their lamps waiting for the Bride Groom to come. I was once more reminded that we need to be constantly filled with oil as to keep our lights burning and the way we do that is by meditating in the Word, going to church and receiving and doing the Word preached. Not neglecting the gathering of ourselves together. We need to be the light, sometimes ships need to find the harbor and they do so by following the light on the corner of the harbor wall so as to enter safely to dock.
A while ago the apostles in our church spoke about our First Love, Jesus, and how if we lose our first love He can remove our candlestick as in Revelation. As I peaked in one of the windows I saw the candle sticks with all their candles in them and I took aim to take a picture and then saw in the reflection of the window the fishing boats and I thought, how amazing when God wants us to understand something HE gives us clear pictures to see.
Jesus builds His church with willing vessels. Vessels who are willing to give up their lives, pick up their cross and follow Him. He is the chief corner stone and He builds the church, not us. His disciples were fishermen. He called them and promised He would make them fishers of men.
I was just very touched by what I saw and experienced here. I am understanding more and more, and clearer and clearer, the work God is doing in the earth. I am thinking on and meditating on the cost of following Jesus whole heartedly, no compromise. Following Jesus on His terms and not ours. If I believe in this work God is doing in the earth, won’t I want to do as much as I can to support it, to help it grow? Will I give up everything I know to go where He sends me? Do I hold the things of this world more dear than the things of the world to come? Will I go where He sends me when He does……….
(c) Celeste Glass