This weekend I had the distinct joy of joining my 12 year old for her confirmation weekend at Lake Junaluska. There were tons of boys (which she told me about the whole time) and even more opportunities to hear the voice of God for the 400 youth that were there.
My daughter and four other church youth were attentive and seemed to really hear what was being said. One of the workshop leader’s words really stuck with all of us.
The speaker shared the common belief that goldfish have a memory span of 3 seconds. If you are a lover of goldfish or a goldfish scientist, the accuracy of that statement is probably debated in your circle of friends. BUT – 3 seconds of memory or 3 months – the outcome is the same. The goldfish doesn’t/can’t remember things very long. The speaker went on the challenge the kids to hold tight to things the Lord was speaking to them over the weekend.
She said, “Don’t be a goldfish.”
We can find the same challenge in the book of James. Pay special attention to verses 22-24.
19-21Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
22-24Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
25But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
I’m constantly amazed at the patience of God. He has to tell us the same thing over and over and over and…well, you get the idea. We see and hear God’s love for us, his instructions and directions…then too often we turn into goldfish. We swim around and around and around… never going anywhere but in a circle.
This is how a week might go with me and God:
Me — “Hi God. It’s me, Donna. I’m in need of some help this week.”
God — “I’m glad you asked. I know exactly what you need. You need to be gentle, kind and loving in your responses this week. You need to turn from your self-centeredness. I will fill your mouth and heart. All you have to do is obey.”
me — “Okay God. Got it. I understand. But um…”
God — “Good. Just remember… obey.”
Me — “Obey, got it. But um… I was hoping you were going to help me clean my house.”
God — “Yes, and I’ve given you the feet, hands and ability to get that done. Prayer answered.”
Me — “Oh, okay. I was hoping you’d just sweep your hand over the house and well, you know…”
God — “Donna, focus. Remember what I told you I would do for you this week. I’m looking forward to working in you!”
me — “Um, Abba?”
God — “Yes, dear one?”
me — “What are you talking about?”
God — “I already know the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask anyway. Were you paying attention? Do you remember the one thing I told you to do this week?”
me — “I was paying attention! I was. Honest. Um, well, I just forgot what you told me to remember.”
I’m going to practice remembering this week. I’m going to practice paying attention to what God is doing in my life. I’m going to practice obedience for longer than a few seconds.
In other words, I’m going to practice NOT being a goldfish.
Have you had forgotten what the Lord has been speaking to you lately? If so, I pray that your coming week will be filled with obedience, grace…and FREE from goldfish moments.