The Jellyfish Story

August 17, 2009

I noticed him staring into the water along the shoreline.  He was a strong-looking man, no doubt enjoying a week on the beach with his family.  Only, in this moment, the furrow on his brow indicated concern.  My own eyes traced the path of his gaze, trying to determine what it was he saw.  Was it a shark?  A child in trouble in the surf?  Before I could determine the danger for myself, the man got out of his beach chair, strode resolutely into the water, and withdrew a large jellyfish with his bare hands.

The jellyfish was a beautiful pinkish-white color.  Sunlight was shimmering across its wet surface, and light filled its translucent body.  Before it hit the sand, where the man dropped and buried it,  I noticed its dangling mass of tentacles.  “Don’t jellyfish sting you?” I wondered.  “Maybe some don’t.  Or maybe there’s a way to grab one without being stung.”  I would have to ask him, if I got the chance.

Moments later a small crowd had circled around the jellyfish, peering down on it in curiosity, asking the man questions. “Don’t jellyfish sting?” somebody asked.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one wondering.

“Yes,” replied the man.

“Did it sting you?”


“So why did you grab it?”

“Last year my niece got stung really badly when we were at the beach.  I didn’t want any of the kids to get stung.”

I marveled at the man’s answer.  It reminded me of Jesus, who laid down his life for the salvation of others.  And, like Jesus, it reminded me of the kind of man I’m called to be: not dull but alert, not timid but decisive, not self-preserving but self-sacrificial.  Men, are you striving to be a man like this?  How could this type of manhood be better expressed toward your wife, your children, others under your care?

Even now I marvel as I reflect back to that moment on the beach.  I hope I never forget the day I saw a man barehand a jellyfish — the day I saw…a man.


One Response to “The Jellyfish Story”

  1. Martin Says:

    Excellent… if only we had a photo as well.
    Of course, I was up in the room fullfilling my manhood job of watching the babies as they slept. I did have the pleasure of unknowingly meeting this man and learning that he is a Christ follower.

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