Today I said to my Goldfish, “Goldfish, something around here has to change. You are not meeting my expectations. When I brought you into our home, I provided your living quarters. I even clean out what waste the catfish doesn’t eat. Does it seem right to you that you can swim back and forth watching me while I dust, vacuum, and wash floors?”

“Oreo, Goldie, Spotty and Blackfins, you make no effort to come out and help me. Every few minutes you nose up to the side of the tank and try to make me feel guilty for not giving you enough attention.

“Let’s go back to the little talk we had when you came to live with us. I said, ‘My job is to give you a place to live and grow. Your job is to entertain people and collect money.’

“We got you at the carnival when you were knee high to an oyster. I have cared for you faithfully. I bought you two water filters and clean them regularly. I brought you stones, and brightly colored toys that you enjoy pushing around the aquarium.

“What have you done? You play with the toys, eat the food and grew into 4 giants. I heard goldfish will only grow as large as the tank allows for a certain number of you. I did not go above the number, but already you are bumping into each other.

“I am keeping my side of this bargain. I have seen no money coming in, but I see it going out at the pet store regularly.

“OK, OK, I did give ownership to the children, but they aren’t here all the time. I still do the work, and foot the bill. Where is the money you promised from your cute antics?

“I am writing up a contract, then I will take you out one by one and isolate you in a bowl until you sign, then I will put you back in the tank with your friends.

“I think it has gone to your head that Jesus talked so much about fish in the Bible. He also multiplied the number of fish given by a child in order to feed thousands of his followers. I would never feed you to my friends. He and his disciples removed a coin from the mouth of a fish in order to pay their taxes. So where is your money, dear goldfish?”

In the book of Mark, Jesus had been teaching along the shore of Lake Genneserat. Jesus got in Simon Peter’s boat, pushed out a little and taught from the boat. Later they pushed out a little further, and Jesus said, “Put down your net.” Peter said, “We fished all night and caught nothing. This is not the time to fish.” But Peter agreed he would do as Jesus said.

He caught so many fish the net began to break. Peter called for his friends, and there were so many fish that both boats were filled to near sinking. Peter and the others were astonished. Jesus said to them, “Fear not; from now on you will be fishers of men.”

Do you remember this song from your childhood? “I will make you fishers of men if you follow me. If you follow me, if you follow me. I will make you fishers of men if you follow me.”

What did that mean? It meant that the disciples would be taught to draw others to the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ. He still wants us do this today. The message is that God loves you. We all have sinned. The punishment for sin is death, (which means eternal separation from God). The perfect son of God, Jesus, died on the cross to satisfy the requirement for our punishment. When we put our total trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior from sin, we will be forgiven and give us everlasting life. Jesus became alive from the dead because God accepted the perfect sacrifice. Believe with your whole heart mind and soul, ask Jesus to be in every part of your life.

There are many Bible references for this in the Bible, but John 3:16 is a verse many have learned, and it identifies the need and everlasting hope in Jesus. We can always trust God to answer prayer and our cries for help. “For God so loved the world, ( insert your name) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I also learned this song as a child.

Bring Them In

“Out in the desert hear their cry,

Out on the mountains wild and high;

Hark! ‘tis the Master speaks to thee,

‘Go, find my sheep wherever they be.’

Bring them in, Bring them in,

Bring them in from the fields of sin;

Bring them in, bring them in,

Bring the wand’ring ones to Jesus”

Betty Blyler lives in New Berlin. For comments, questions or speaking engagements, e-mail: blyler@dejazzd.com.

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