A piper with a grand villa went to the seaside one day, looking to collect fish to live in the waters of his estate.
He played his flute with great mastery to entice fish to come to him. Yet no fish jumped toward the jar of water that he set out for them. He played another song, again with no positive results.
Finally, frustrated, the piper called a fisherman and had him cast a net, bringing in a great haul of fish to the beach.
As the fish flopped on the beach, gasping for precious life, the piper looked at them and said,
“I piped and you didn’t dance. I played a sad song and you did not weep. Now it is too late for you to respond. Your fate is sealed.”
I used the story in my sermon last week, hoping to illustrate the two ideas. First, our time is limited. Second, our window (and self-determining ability) to make a decision may be shorter (and smaller) than we know.
I spoke Sunday morning on New Year’s resolutions, challenging the church to commit to only two:
1) I implored the church to recapture the joy of salvation. In reading the story of the Exodus, the salvation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, we get a look at our own stories. We also get an idea of how incredible the God of salvation really is. He surely parted seas in our lives to bring us unto Himself. The beauty and joy of that should be rediscovered daily.
2) I begged the church to begin to understand that we are to bring hope to those who are suffering. Suffering is acute here, but people all over the world are suffering from things: loneliness, poverty, depression, disease, hunger, loss, and so much more. We, as the church, can commit to seeking out the suffering and finding ways to bring hope into hopeless situations. Moses did so for his people, leading them through great suffering, both in Egypt and in the wilderness. We should do the same.