One of the little joys of my day is picking up my high school daughter from school. Each time she gets into the car there is always something interesting she shares with me about her day. This week she found out that some of her friends that were on the basketball team with her last year were cut from the team this year. She also found out that the team would have a new coach.
After my daughter shared her remorse about her friends being cut from the team, I asked her how she felt about her own skills. This is what she said, “I feel I need to step it up.” That was exactly what I hoped she would say. I reminded her that comfort is not always a friend, but sometimes being a little bit uncomfortable helps us to move out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.
Talking about being uncomfortable, reminded me to share with my daughter the story about the benefits of having a shark in your tank. If you have not heard of this story before, I shared the version of the story below from the site, The Art of Management, Inc.
A Fishing Story:
“The Japanese love fresh fish. However, the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.
The farther the fisherman went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.
To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezer on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer.
However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.
So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.
Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.
So how did Japanese fishing companies solve the problem?
To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state.
The fish are challenged.”
For most of us, in order to prevent becoming ineffective and unproductive, we need to be challenged in order to do our best or other wise we will take the road of least resistance.
In 2 Peter 1:5, Peter wanted to rouse the complacent believers. This was what he said, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you posses these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christian character, and the practice of moral discipline, or it will die away (James 2:14-17). Peter lists several of faith’s actions: learning to know God better, developing perseverance, doing God’s will, loving others. These actions do not come automatically; they require hard work. They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life. We don’t finish one and start on the next, but we work on them all together. God empowers and enables us, but He also gives us the responsibility to learn and to grow.” Commentary
What a great reminder God gave both my daughter and to me about the dangers of being complacent!
Definition of complacent: pleased, especially with oneself or one’s merits, advantages, situation, etc., often without awareness of some potential danger or defect; self-satisfied.
Let’s make every effort as the Bible exhorts in 2 Peter 1:5, "to step it up", and let's continue to learn and to grow in every area of our life! If we make every effort, by the Lord's grace, He will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive especially in our desire to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! Stay fresh!