Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Reflection for August 26, 2009

"Salmon or Jelly Fish: You Choose"

Are you a salmon or are you a jellyfish? I can hear your minds turning and wondering, what kind of question is that? Think about it for a minute. A salmon begins life in the fresh water of the Northwest. Shortly after life begins the salmons swims down stream until it reaches the ocean. It spends most of its life in the ocean but the ocean is not its final destination. At some point the salmon realizes that the ocean is not home and it begins the journey back to where it came from. The journey is difficult because the return home is all upstream. Scientists recognize it as one of the marvels of nature, when the salmon finally overcomes all the obstacles it confronts and arrives home, usually at or very close to where they started from. When the salmon arrives home it spawns and then having accomplished its purpose it dies.

Unlike the salmon, the jellyfish is not driven to accomplish anything. It is perfectly satisfied to be moved along by the wind, waves and tide. Although they have limited movement, there is no evidence that they attempt to move toward any particular destination. They seem to be perfectly content to float from place to place. They show no indication that they have any sense of purpose or direction for their existence. They drift about satisfied just to survive.

The Apostle Paul was clearly more like the salmon. This can be seen in his determination through out his writings. I am particularly fond of Philippians 3:7-14. Take the time to read this passage and think of it in terms of your own life. In these verses, you can see three things about Paul. He had decided what was most important in his life. His overpowering passion was to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. He had determined what he was willing to sacrifice to obtain that which was most important. For Paul, when compared to the joy of knowing Christ everything else was considered mere rubbish. He was willing to sacrifice everything to obtain is goal of knowing Christ. Finally, Paul was devoted to the task of knowing Christ. He was determined to press on to the high calling that God had placed on his life. As a result, God used him to write a large portion of the New Testament and millions of people throughout the ages have been blessed by his efforts.

When one visualizes the life of a salmon, it may look like more work than it is worth. Who really wants the exertion of swimming against the current? On the other hand, the life of the jelly fish may look more enticing. Drifting is far less demanding and it can seem like fun. I doubt that anyone would argue the fact that there are more people drifting upon the waves of the culture in which we live than they are those who are willing to buck the culture and stand up for right instead of bowing to convenience.

For those few that are willing to swim against the current, the reward at the end will be the joy of knowing that their life has really counted for something and that the world is a better place because they have been in it. I end where I started with the question, are you a salmon or a jellyfish? No matter what one has been in the past, he/she can make a decision today to be a salmon, to swim against the current of today’s culture, and to live the remainder of their days being everything God has meant for them to be.

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