Sharp: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson


Sharp: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson

3rd August 2015

I once read a story about a girl who fell in love with a fisherman. She was so excited on the day he proposed to her, and she skipped all the way home to tell her parents.

“A fisherman?” Her father bellowed with disgust. “Are you out of your mind? In a town full of lawyers, doctors, engineers and accountants, you want to insult your father by marrying a Fisherman? Over my dead body! There’s no way I am going to have a useless fisherman for a son-in-law!”

The girl was heartbroken. She begged and pleaded and cried, but Daddy wouldn’t budge. She took her fisherman sweetheart to meet her mother, but Mummy was even worse.

“After all the money we spent sending you to school, this is how you choose to repay us? Your sisters are all married to professors, priests and politicians. But you dare to bring a fisherman into our home? What a disgrace!”

The young girl and her fisherman lover were both heartbroken. They couldn’t imagine a life without each other. She begged him to run away with her, get married in some other town and never talk to her parents again, but he convinced her not to. “That would truly insult and disgrace your parents”, he said. So instead, they broke up.

Later that year, the rains came like never before. The whole town was flooded. Property was destroyed, lives were lost, and hundreds of people – including the girl’s family – were stranded in their homes without food or water for days. Now, guess who was the only one with a boat. That’s right, the useless, disgraceful fisherman.

He turned up at their house when they were most desperate – when their food had run out and all the professors, priests and politicians were riddled with illness and in need of medication. He loaded them all into his boat and took them safely to the next town.

The girl’s father grabbed the fisherman by the hand and said, “Thank you, my son”.

The fisherman smiled at him and said, “I’m still a fisherman. Too useless and disgraceful to be your son”

My friends, in our society, we believe that some people are more important than others. Let’s not deny it. When a security guard walks into our place of work, we treat them differently from how we treat a CEO. That is because we assign a lower importance to the security guard. This is our nature, so let’s not spend too much time disputing it simply because it doesn’t sound like “the Christian thing to do”. We all do it. Is there really any one of us reading this message who doesn’t consider themselves a better human being than, say, a prostitute, or a homeless person?

But how wrong we all are! If life should teach us anything, it should be the fact that we all serve a unique purpose. The doctors are just as important as the drivers, the lawyers just as important as the labourers, and the politicians are definitely no more valuable than the people. We each have a unique purpose that no other person fulfills, and this is what equalizes us.

The razorblade is sharp, but it can’t cut a tree. The axe is sharp too, but it can’t cut hair. We all have our functions in life, but if we remember that what we do is no more important than what others are called to do, perhaps we will finally start to build that enlightened society we all dream of.

And for those of us who claim to be Christians while maltreating our house helps, abusing our drivers and looking down our noses on everyone in-between, perhaps we don’t really aim to be “Christ-like”, because that dude hung out with prostitutes all day long. Plus, his twelve best friends were all homeless guys. Oh, and a couple of them were fishermen too.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and I may be sharp, but I can’t cut what you cut. For that, I respect you, whoever you may be.