Inch by inch I moved along the long rows of aquariums.
I loved it when I got to choose the next additions to our tank. Neon tetras, zebra fish, fancy guppies, orange swordtails, goldfish, catfish. I examined each fish pirouetting through the crystal clear water.
I nodded when my selection was complete. Painstakingly, the pet store employee swooped the net through the waters seeking “my” fish. I knew exactly which one I had chosen. No substitutes, please.
Aquarium Life at Home
When we opened the lid for the daily feeding, some fish swam to the top expectantly. Others, however, darted away. The plants and the little ceramic house offered protection from the massive shadows our hands cast across their world. Scary.
My parents cleaned the aquarium regularly. The lowering water level stressed the fish. They darted about in their decreasing habitat. They hid from the huge tube sucking the yuck from amidst the gravel. They avoided the waterfall of fresh water as it replenished their contained world. Scary.
Shockingly … our words of comfort did nothing to reduce their stress of being transferred from the pet store to our aquarium. Our words meant nothing on cleaning days either…
“It’s ok. You’ll be fine.”
“This will make everything so much better.”
“You’ll meet new friends!”
“Don’t worry! It’ll be so much better later.“
They never understood our language or our intentions.
What if… I could become a fish??
If only I could dive into the water and speak fish!
I would explain the tank cleaning process. I would tell them not to fight the fish net for the occasional transfer to another aquarium. I would tell them that we have everything under control: water temperature, duration of lighting, water chemistry, food, cleaning, even finding new friends. Trust us!
I would tell each one how he was specially chosen and watched over and cared for.
But then … being an aquarium fish would severely limit my existence. I would have to sacrifice my legs, hands and feet. My independence would be lost. On second thought …this price is way too high to consider. I didn’t love my fish that much!
The One Who Jumped
Jesus, however, did jump into the fishbowl.
He gave up His radiant, glorified self to show us the way. Earth is as different from heaven as an aquarium is from terrestrial life. Jesus humbly sacrificed all to tell us we are loved and cared for. He brought the message of hope and encouragement to us as we live in this fallen and broken world. This is the gospel message of the good news of Jesus!
Do not fight the changes and new directions He brings. Do not worry. He has everything under control. Trust Him. Have faith.
I am deeply humbled by Jesus’ sacrifice. He jumped into our aquarium to tell us
“It’s ok…I’ve got this!“
Herein lies the story of Jesus incarnate. God with us.
Pause and ponder these words to the people of Philippi … and to you and to me…
In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death —
even death on a cross!
How are you living a life representative of Jesus’ selfless example?
Take time today to comfort and serve others.
Hold in the forefront of your mind the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus …
His death and resurrection profoundly completed our redemption.
It is finished.