Lessons from a Fish
For the past six weeks Stuart and I have been helping with the third and fourth grade class at church. Previously, I had been resistant to participating in the children’s program because of multiple terrifying experiences leading Bible Hour. (If you have ever been in Bible Hour you know what I am referring to. Some kids are terrors, and when the parents ask how little Johnny did, you receive excuses like, “Well, he didn’t have a nap three days ago. Seriously, I got that answer one time.) But the past six weeks have completely changed my perspective. The kids are rambunctious, yes, but oh, so fun to be with! I have discovered that they are actually more fun to be with than adults. To my surprise, I have learned more from being in their class than many adult classes I have been a part of. And bonus, most of the lessons have come in completely unexpected ways.
We open class by checking attendance, practicing the memory verses and taking prayer requests. We have gotten some pretty great requests like “Help us to not get hurt when we are doing donuts on the four wheelers at night” and “Help my dog to quit biting me on the bottom.” I love the innocence of kids.
Then there was the request concerning a dead fish. The conversation went like this:
Child: “My fish died this weekend.”
Stuart: “I am sorry. What happened?”
Child: “My dad was cleaning the fish tank. He put our fish in clean water and it died. The water in the tank was pretty dirty and the fish was used to it.”
And just like that God taught me a lesson through a prayer request for a dead fish.
We couldn’t help but chuckle and at the same time realized that this is how many people live. It is how I have lived at times. It may even be how I am living in certain areas in my life now and don’t even realize it.
Take a simple example like television. There are certain shows I used to watch, stopped watching and didn’t realize how polluted they were until I walked away.
We are comfortable. Sin slowly creeps in, and it doesn’t take long until we are living in the muck and mire. We may even think we are living in clean water. And it often takes a complete removal from the situation to see how dirty our environment really was.
The good news is that in Christ we always have a fresh start. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all unrighteousness. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9) This cleansing is a continual process. And how does it begin? Confession. Confession is the first step in receiving the cleansing of Jesus.
Confession can be scary. There are a million reasons why Satan will talk us out of admitting our sins to others and to God. Because the bottom line is that he knows this is where the healing begins. Confession takes off the mask, breaks down the walls and invites Someone greater than ourselves to sit on the throne.
Unlike the fish, moving to clean water will not kill you, although if you are used to the dirty water, just the thought of changing environments probably feels like it will. Take a step of faith. Get out of the filth. Move to the clean tank.
What kind of water are you swimming in?