Remember Nemo, the ocean-going Clown Fish? By misadventure, he found himself confined to an aquarium in the office of a Sydney dentist. He looked out fearfully at a big, scary world, wondering if he could ever muster the courage to try and break free to return to the limitless expanse of his native ocean.
As Christians, we can find ourselves in a situation like this. Particularly in a secular world where we are increasingly the ‘odd ones out’, and Christian faith and churches seem to struggle, we can feel like we are ‘fish in a goldfish bowl’ looking out at a big, scary world! So, we concentrate on our own concerns, and hope to somehow ensure our survival. When we do this, we distance ourselves from non-believers, thinking of them as ‘the opposition’, or even as enemies.
When we live like this, we forget a crucial reality – i.e., the world belongs to Jesus Christ (Psalm 24:1; Philippians 2:9-11), He loves it (John 3:16), and He is at work calling people out of all nations to the farthest limit of the earth into His eternal family, and He calls every one of us to be a part of that work by sharing the good news with others (Matthew 28:16-20). This makes us go in friendship and love to all people, praying and trusting and seeing them touched by the love of Jesus.
You and I are destined by God to ‘swim’ with great hope and joy in the whole ‘ocean’ of Christ’s global kingdom and mission, and not to be confined in a pokey little ‘goldfish bowl’ of fear where life is hopelessly shrunken.
Join this little fish, and swim free with me!
Grace upon grace, Jonathan.