by Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Have you ever watched a lake being restocked with fish? It is a fascinating and neat thing to watch.
Recently while attending a meeting at our Sunset Lake Camp and retreat center, our office team happened to be there on the very day that the lake was to be restocked with rainbow trout fish.
When the truck arrived with the fish, we stopped our meeting and went to stand by the beautiful mountain lake to watch this entire process. The truck backed up on the boat ramp and rolled out a plastic tube down the ramp and into the water. As we stood close to the tube, the man opened the tank and water started to flow through the tube followed very shortly by fish that came down the tube and headed towards the water and a new life in the beautiful mountain lake.
These fish had been in captivity their entire lives.
They had only known life living in tanks, swimming in circles and watching for the water on the surface to be stirred up by someone throwing food into the water. That was the only life they knew. Now freedom awaited them in the lake. But the fish acted like they didn’t want to go.
Instead of heading with glee into the lake, many of them tried to swim upstream against the current to get back to the tank where they came from.
Now I know that fish have a natural instinct to swim against the current, but it still seemed odd to see them trying to fight their way up the incline of the boat ramp in that narrow tube trying to get back to the only world that they had known. They had been comfortable, complacent, and well fed. Of course, they were also in captivity.
Soon they were all in the lake and you could see them all swimming in circles close to the place that the plastic tube and the tank that had once held them. They were not yet exploring this new wonderful mountain lake that was their new home.
As I reflected on those fish, I wondered about myself and my fellow Christians. We have been here in relative comfort in the United States. Most are comfortable and well fed. Dare I say that we may be also complacent. And we are certainly in captivity here on this earth. Even billionaires who are locked in a space race have only managed to escape the bounds of gravity for a few minutes before they fall back to earth.
Revelation 3:14-22 speaks of the comfortable, complacent church.
It is called the church of Laodicea. They were pretty happy with their life. Yet they had no idea of the life that God really wanted to give them. He said you need to buy gold that had been refined, white garments to cover themselves and to anoint their eyes so that they could see. Jesus said you get all that from Him and that he was standing outside the door ready to transform their lives.
Jesus wants to have a church fully sold out for Him. Then in says in verse 21 that we would then get to sit down with Jesus in the throne room of heaven. Seems like that is so much better than the captivity that we are in right now. That is what God has planned for us. I love where it says in II Corinthians 2— What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.
God has plans for you in the new heavens and new earth away from this captivity. And friends, that doesn’t just need to start in heaven. It starts now.
It starts with our walk with God now. Yet how often do we get uncomfortable when things change and we are thrust out of our comfortable, complacent captivity into a new reality. Things in the world have certainly changed and we have been thrust into new realities and it has been an interesting ride.
Some have been very uncomfortable as the “old normal” was something that was comfortable. Yet maybe just maybe we should instead embrace where God is leading us as we explore how we can make an impact in the areas that God is sending us in this new reality.
First, let’s get out of our comfortable, complacent captivity of how things have always been and do ministry in the face of the pandemic and the new ever-changing world we live in. That is the heaven on earth as we faithfully serve God.
Second, let us embrace the amazing fact that Jesus is coming soon and has amazing things prepared for us that we cannot even imagine here in this captive world.