Thursday, October 08, 2009

The woman who supplied our bread each morning, in Santiago de Chuco, Peru

Working with the "carnies" at the State Fair each year is always an interesting experience. You can tell quickly that no one takes an interest in their lives or wants to hear what is really happening. Some of them seem to be just waiting for someone to come along and ask questions, so they can talk about life's difficulties.

I know I need this in my own life, and it is evident they do as well!

This year the Chaplain trailer is near a portable fishing tank. I have never seen one like it. The tank sits up at eye view for children... rather like an aquarium. Their hooks come pre-baited, and they can drop their lure into the water and see who is going after it. They can move the lure to the cluster of fish they desire, and raise and lower it as fish come near.

The children's eyes are very focused as they try to catch the "big one." Anxious parents are encouraged to wait behind a rope (just behind their children). Some do, but some have to engage. It is too difficult to stand back and watch the little ones come so close and miss.

The children have just a few minutes to catch a fish. Some have no skill. Others have clearly "gone fishing" before.

This particular day was frustrating for most of them. The temperature was cool. The owner told me the fish had not been fed in four days and were hungry, but it was ten degrees cooler outside than is optimal for fish to feed.

There were 2,000 fish in this tank. Surely some would be hungry enough to strike. On occasion, one would. In watching and talking to the carnie, time passed quickly. Before I knew it, nearly thirty minutes had gone by. Somehow, it is intoxicating to watch little children try to catch fish... especially when you can see the fish swim near the bait, time after time. It was so interesting to see them seek shade rather than light... even when it was too cool to feed.

In that one period, I didn't see one fish get caught.

It made me wonder about how we "feed" in our churches.

I couldn't help but make the transition. I started hearing hungry people offering up excuses.

"I would have gotten more out of the message if someone hadn't sat in my seat!"

"I could learn if the preacher wouldn't start each of his points with the same letter!"

"I couldn't believe how hot (or cold) it was in there this morning. Who can concentrate when its like that!?"

"I was so hungry that my growling stomach kept me from focusing. I couldn't help but think about the cafeteria we're headed to after the service."

"I could worship better if we'd sing more Hymns!"

I'd get more out of the service if we'd sing more praise choruses!"

"Did you see what the preacher was wearing today?"

"When are we gonna use that pipe organ? My money paid for that..."

I couldn't shut the flow of voices and excuses off. They kept echoing in my hollow noggin.

I couldn't help but wonder what it would take to get us to focus on the worship experience really being about worship and not our own personal comfort(s). Our desires can consume us, and be the only voice we hear.

We are way more like fish than we realize. When the environment is not to our liking (in any way) we won't feed. We seek what need not be found in moments when the food for our souls is right there for the receiving.

When we yield our comforts and expectations to Him, He will show us much. When the deepest longing of our heart is truly Jesus, it will be reflected in the lack of distraction amid a storm of temptation or opportunity.

When we start seeking truth and knowledge in Him and aren't pre-occupied in how we think things should be, our lives will be "full" of His presence!

What a difference we could make in our corner of the world, if we sought Christ over comfort, Truth over tradition, or the Savior over social status.

I'm headed back to work the Fair in a few minutes.

I hope the fish are biting today.



At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true. Great post today.

At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said! Thank you!


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