Monday, October 26, 2009

The parable of the five tropical fish

A few weeks ago, I bought a small fish tank for my daughter together with five red-coloured tropical fish, as chosen by her from the shop.

We were all excited with the newfound activities of feeding the fish, replacing the water and cleaning the mini-aquarium. One fine day, my wife noticed one of the fish was floating motionless in the mini aquarium. Dead. Hmm, we guessed that the fish must have found it too great a challenge to adapt to the new environment.

A few days passed by, and my wife began to see a pattern. There seemed to be a "predator fish" inside the mini-aquarium. This "predator fish" would be going after the other fish in the mini-aquarium and attacked the fish. Soon, another fish was dead followed by the other remaining two fish until no other fish was left except for the "predator fish". We could all see that the "predator fish" would then be swimming around the mini-aquarium with much freedom and pride. However, unknown to the "predator fish", we were not pleased at all to see just a fish swimming in an empty aquarium. We began to lose interest in replacing the water and cleaning the aquarium. The aquarium was then taken out from the room where we placed it and we just left it at the drying area near the washing machine. The poor "predator fish" could still be seen swimming with much pleasure and pride in the empty aquarium not realizing that it has lost the owners' favour. Not long after that, the "predator fish" was dead.

Oftentimes, we would fall to the temptation of our flesh to disregard every other person's interest around us just to protect or promote our own interest. Along the journey of life, when we are too engulfed in our personal ambitions, selfish desires and all we could think and speak of is ourselves, we begin to act like the "predator fish" and trample on other people around us. And for a period of time, things may seem fine and perfect as we begin to see our dreams becoming reality and not knowing that we begin to lose the favour of our God. When we allow the enemy to use our mouths to backbite, gossip and speak evil of our own brethren instead of lifting, comforting and encouraging one another, we begin to act like the "predator fish".

Love is a powerful force for God is love. When we allow ourselves to be immersed in the unconditional love of God, our fleshly nature would lose its hold on our lives and we begin to take on the divine nature of God. We can love Him because He first loved us. We can love others because His love fills and overflows our heart. It is no coincidence that God's commandments were only summed up into two simple truths. Love God, love others. Period.

Ah, should we be tempted the next time, may the parable of the five tropical fish be quickened in our hearts :)

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