In my house, we have a special name for the local pet store. It is called the “free zoo”. At this store, we can observe and even interact with cute, fluffy creatures for as long as we want. We can pet dogs, hold bunny rabbits, and have staring contests with exotic lizards sun bathing under a lightbulb. It is great. The best thing about this place is the fact that we can enjoy the fun of learning about animals without the headache of having to take them home. My kids still have no idea that people can buy these animals, and we intend to keep it that way.
My children love the fish tanks. In our pet store, these tanks are in a separate back room with special lighting. Each tank is clearly labeled and contain dozens of the particular species being advertised. The aquariums look like little cloning experiments, because all of the fish look exactly alike. They resemble synchronized swimmers and seem to read each other’s minds.
Personally, I like the basic goldfish. I enjoy their color, and how peaceful they look in their tank. When I tap on the glass (don’t judge me), they get startled and swim away behind a fake coral reef. Then something fascinating happens. They come back to the glass as if they completely forgot what happened.
As I grow in Christ, I often wonder if I am a Christian goldfish. Do I do things just because others do them? Do I have a very short memory when it comes to the consequences of sin (or even the blessings of God)? And, most of all, do I attempt to create an isolated world of religion around me where I am protected from any suffering, disppointment, or potential risk? Sometimes, I come up undeniably short on these questions. When I do, I tend to make excuses about my frail human condition.
Unfortunately, I find that many others behave in the same fashion. The aversion to risk, selfless love, and being distributors of grace are attitudes that can devastate the growth we so desperately need.
How serious are you about seeing that the lost are found? Are you more concerned about your safety? Your comfort? Your life? Or, do you care more about what Jesus has done for the world? Christ is on a mission and we can either follow that mission or work against it.
We have a say in whether or not we fall prey to being a goldfish. The closer we get to God through worship, prayer, service and a dedication to His word, the more we start to condition ourselves for more readily hearing His voice. Our memory of His blessings become clearer and we lean on His promises more easily. When we pray, we learn what it means to selflessly intercede for others and truly rejoice when others find peace. Worship is given a new life that has little to do with us, and everything to do with God’s faithfulness. We simply learn to be instead of just do.
Today, take some time to reflect on all that God has done, and engage in risky prayers that, if answered, will turn your world upside down.