When I was a kid, we had a large fish tank with several goldfish, I didn’t like cleaning it even though my dad did the bulk of the work. When we were down to the last goldfish, I was completely fine with giving it away and being done with the whole thing.
Although my children have had the occasional fish in a bowl over the years, I have never ever desired to do the whole fish tank thing again.
Fast forward to 5 years ago. My youngest child wanted to volunteer at a local aquarium and a parent needed to do it with him because of his age. Always willing to support budding new interests, I gamely signed us up as docents.
I had envisioned that we would just be sharing information and guiding visitors. Imagine how shocked I was when I found out that the first part of every shift involved cleaning the aquarium tanks. Ugh.
Wanting to set a good example for my son, I put my personal feelings aside and determined we were going to do our very best. Having managed many people over the years, it is always my priority to be the kind of worker that I would want to see as a leader. I follow instructions, ask questions when I need to, and work hard without complaint. In all my adult life, I have never had anyone be completely unsatisfied with my work.
Until these fish tanks.
Cleaning the tanks ended up being something that I truly dreaded every time we volunteered.
It wasn’t the super freezing water or the fact that I had to stand at the top rungs of the ladder in order to be able to clean the tanks (#shortpeopleproblems). It was the fact that each time I volunteered, someone different was in charge and had their own ideas of how to properly clean the tanks. And most of the time, their instructions contradicted what I was told the last time I volunteered.
Every time I asked about the conflicting processes, I would get long explanations about how the way I had been previously told to do it was not correct and would ruin something. There wasn’t a manual or written instructions on how to clean these tanks. There was only the ever-changing leaders’ instructions and corrections.
As someone who is a rule-follower, this became extremely frustrating for me as I was always being told I was doing something wrong. Often, I was warned that some horrible consequence would follow because it was done incorrectly, like (1) the brand-new tank was going to be scratched or (2) all the fish were going to die.
After several months of volunteering, my son decided he wanted to be done. I can’t tell you how quickly and happily I agreed!
As I was sharing this story with my nephew today, I was thinking about how helpful it would have been to have standard written instructions so that everyone was on the same page.
Aren’t you glad that God had that idea?!
We’re constantly inundated with different information, opposing ideas and dire warnings if you don’t subscribe to a certain practice or philosophy. It’s overwhelming and truly impossible to know what and who to trust. The slightest misstep causes offense or someone to be canceled. How do we even navigate it? What argument or position is the right one??
Thankfully, as Christ followers, we don’t have to wade through all that. We have God’s precious, unchanging Word.
It is the standard that we need to measure all other things against. No matter how compelling an argument is, if it doesn’t line up with His Word, it’s not from God. Period.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
It is imperative that you regularly study & know His Word. We often hear scripture taken out of context to support an opposing argument. I cringe when I hear this! It’s straight out twisting God’s Word for personal gain. The enemy does this! We see a perfect example of how he used scripture to tempt Jesus in the desert. (Matthew 4:5-7)
How easily we can be deceived and have wrong thinking if we do not know God and know His Word! Do not let this be you! Be in a right relationship with Him, get into a church that preaches the whole counsel of God, and spend time praying and studying the Bible daily.
And then stand firm.
When you know who God is and trust Him at His Word, you can stand firm on His solid foundation knowing that the creator of the universe is always in control.
Walk faithfully, my friends!
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”