Neon Tetras And Black Skirts

March 18, 1998
by Ruth McCowan

Mark 1:17 – "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

I don't know much about fishing, but Jesus said these words to Simon and his brother Andrew, who were fishermen. In the last couple of years, our family have been observing fish and we have been learning lots. It all started a couple years ago when we gave our (then) seven-year old a small 5 gallon fish aquarium with a couple of fantail goldfish. We had varying success with his goldfish. My husband has always had a fascination with tropical fish, so for his birthday, we gave him a super deluxe 30 gallon fish aquarium. We read up on all the different kinds of fish, but one fish we knew we just had to have were the beautiful neon tetras. They are small but they have a bright orange line going down their back. They really are a beautiful fish and they travel in schools so we brought home about half a dozen. Then gradually, we added different varieties with the neon tetras. As you can imagine, because we were complete novices, before long we discovered what the book means when it says that some fish are more aggressive than others. We had introduced a couple Black Skirt Tetras to our Neon Tetras and the Black Skirts spent their day running after the Neons and nipping their tails. One thing was for sure that these two do not mix so guess what? Now we have another 30 gallon fish aquarium for our more aggressive fish. But even in that tank, we have one blue tetra bully who everyone has told us is not supposed to be aggressive but he is the definitely the boss of the tank.

As we sit and watch our fish communities, I can't help but compare them to our church. How often do we come across people in our church who seem to be like the Black Skirts nipping on our tails. Whatever we do, it never seems to be good enough for the Black Skirts. So what's the answer? I think, sometimes, we end up doing what we did with our fish. We bought another fish aquarium, and often we see people leaving our church because they get tired of being nipped. But Jesus says, "Come, follow me." He calls all of us and we come in many varieties. He calls all of us to come together in love. We have to learn to appreciate the differences in each other and to know that each of us is special and we are loved.

Prayer: Loving God, we thank you that you have made us different from each other but special in Your sight. Help us to be "fishers of men" no matter what variety the fish is. Help us to be more accepting and loving to all our brothers and sisters in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Ruth McCowan <rbmccowan@shaw.ca>

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


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