Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lesson From Fish Shopping

My son had a little gold and black spotted Platy, named Black Spots.  He's only 5, but he fed his fish daily and would often run over to the tank to tell his fish some fun news and promise to buy it things for its tank.  It was always cute to watch.  Well, two days ago his little pet that moved with us across state lines died. He was not happy about Black Spots being dead and he did not want his little fish flushed.

The day after Black Spot's goodbye we all went to the pet shop in search of a new fish.  My son found the tank with the Platys and stood by it.  When the lady scooped up one, he looked at it and said, "nope, it doesn't have black spots, it's not right."  She tried again, he inspected and said, "yes I want this one."  It looked just like the one that died, only smaller.  I asked him what he was going to name it. He looked at me as if it was so obvious, "it's Black Spots mom."  So now we have Black Spots number two, I suppose. 

It got me thinking about how we like what we know.  We are comfortable with routine and familiarity.  Sometimes that is good. It helps us through the day to have a routine.  It keeps our stress levels down and maybe even helps us as we grieve.

What about when it keeps us from new possibilities?  My husband took my son all around the tanks at the pet store showing him all kinds of amazing fun fish.  He even found a little shark that was green–my son's favorite color.  You'd think he'd want a little green shark, yet he wasn't the least bit interested in anything unfamiliar.  He kept running back to the Platy tank, to what he knew, to what was familiar.

I think there are times when we need to stick to familiar, but not always.  God often called people out of the familiar, out of their comfort zones into new and unknown territory.  Jesus told the fishermen to leave everything, their nets, their livelihood, and follow him.  He sent them to places they never thought they'd go.  He had them talk to people, like the Samaritans, the Gentiles, they never thought they'd socialize with.  He often called them to the unfamiliar.  Yet when they followed him they did something that changed their lives forever. Two thousand years later we still know many of these men by name.  Not because they stuck to what was familiar but because they said yes to God and left familiar for the unknown.

Mathew 9:9 "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth. "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him."

There are days when I ask God "what thing are you calling me to?" Days when the familiar feels too familiar and I want something new.  I raise my kiddos, I spend a lot of time at home caring for them, teaching them, doing laundry.  I know God called me out of the known, my teaching career, to the unknown of homemaking.  He called us to pick up our family and move more than once.  I still wonder what's next. What is HE wanting me to do? It could be as simple as reaching out to a neighbor instead of being so stuck in routine.

 Do you feel God calling you out of the familiar to something new?  Will you be able to embrace it or will you stand by your own comfortable "tank?"

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