Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Springfield Today August 28, 2018

August 28, 2018 by  
Filed under Blog

Good Moanin’ Springfiedians,

I read about it a number of years ago, and I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to remember the lesson.  Some times I’m successful; other times, not so successful.  Sometimes I put the lesson into practice immediately and have found the lesson taught is true.  But then there are other times when I’ve really struggled to put it into practice and suffered because of my slowness.

Here’s the story I read:

In northeastern United States, codfish are not only delectable, but they are a big commercial business.  There’s a market for eastern cod all over, but especially in sections farthest removed from the northeast coastline.  The public demand posed a problem to the shippers.

At first they froze the cod, then shipped them elsewhere; but customers began to complain that freezing the cod took away much of the flavor. (Which by my estimation isn’t a bad thing – since I’m not an eater of fish.  My taste buds never recovered from when my mother made me eat fishsticks as a kid.) But those who do like the flavor of fish complained. (By the way, for all who have tried to convince me to try eating fish – by saying it doesn’t taste too fishy – that doesn’t work.  I want my steak to taste steaky – I want my corn to taste corny.  To say fish doesn’t taste fishy – tells me you don’t really like it either.)

When freezing the cod didn’t work, they then tried shipping them alive, in tanks of seawater, but that proved even worse.  Not only was it more expensive; but the cod still lost its flavor, and in addition, became soft and mushy.  The texture was seriously affected.

Finally, some creative person solved the problem in a most ingenious way.  The codfish were placed in the tank of water along with its natural enemy – the catfish.  From the time the cod left the East Coast until it arrived in its westernmost destination, those ornery catfish chased the cod all over the tank!  And you guessed it, when the cod arrived at the market they were as fresh as when they were first caught.  There was no loss of flavor nor was the texture affected. If anything, I’m told, it was better than before.

A couple of questions seem worth asking.

First (I’m sure you can), can you name some catfish swimming in your tank?

Maybe you live with one of them. Or maybe it’s someone at work whose irritating presence drives you to your knees several times a week.  I’m sure every church has a few catfish.

Let’s change our perspective on those catfish.  Maybe they’re there to keep all the cod from getting soft, and mushy, and tasteless.

Secondly, have you ever thought about giving thanks for your catfish?  Just think, it’s the tension in the tank that helps the Christ-like image to be developed in our lives.  With the right perspective we can learn how to keep from resenting them as intruders as the chase continues.

To do so we’ll need to put an end to pity parties and whine clubs and gripe gatherings in the tank.  When we do, it is nothing short of remarkable how closely the chase begins to resemble “the race” mentioned in Hebrews 12.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)

            Remember, if it causes us to pray more, if it causes us to lean on Him more, if it causes us to cry out to God more often – even if it’s a stinkin’ catfish – how can that be a bad thing?

As I said, sometimes I’ve been successful at remembering this and sometimes not so successful – but I’m trying, I’m striving, I’m trying to put this into practice.

Thank you Lord for my catfish – because I’ve prayed more often, and come to you more often, and admitted I can’t handle it – but You can.

Thanks for teaching me to lean on You.

Thank you for reminding me “Your arm is not too short.”  You can reach into my life, my circumstances and bring exactly what I need.

Remember, a catfish isn’t always a “who” sometimes it’s a “what,” circumstances that create tension, bad doctor reports, financial concerns.

If your catfish causes you to pray more, how can that be bad?


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