What It Means to be an Image Bearer

Today, I was sitting enjoying the fruit of many days of hard work. The pond now has a new area for the fish to explore. You might not like to hear this. We’ve got something in common with fish. And in order to get the full idea, I need to recount the history of two fish. These fish survived living in a small pond form in our basement before the existing outdoor pond was dug. Two other fish died in our basement. Not sure what caused the first death, but the other was caused by jumping out of the pond form, and not having a way to get back in. That’s the first way we can be like fish. Sometimes we get into things there is just no good way to get out of, and sometimes those things result in our death. Oops, right? Well, that second event lit a fire under me, as I realized that I really didn’t want to lose another fish that way. So, that spring a pond went in. It was time to move the fish from the pond form to the pond. While we liked the two fish we had, we decided they needed more company, so we bought more, and put them in the new pond. Then I used the bag those fish came in to transport the two bigger fish to their new much bigger pond. You’re supposed to put the bag in the pond to let the temperatures gradually become the same. So some time later I let them out of their bag. Oddly enough, they kept on swimming in circles as if they were still in the bag. This is the second way we’re like fish sometimes. The world of opportunity out there is amazing, yet we swim in circles as if limited by the bag we’re not in. Now you might think that the fish would remember two environmental things like this, and that their curiosity would allow them to discover new things added to the pond.

A work in progress!

Yet, when I spent the late spring into summer digging an addition to the pond, these fish were all timid. It took hours before they finally made their way into the channel connecting the two parts of the pond, and that was only after being coaxed by food! It took even more time for them to make their way into the other part of the pond. Here again, we tend to be like these fish. We don’t learn that our world can be expanded, the sphere of our influence, and our domain can grow with time. We tend to like the familiarity of our pond just the way it has always been.

If you read the title of this post, you’d be forgiven for wondering what the connection is. Today, after a few days I witnessed the fish really enjoying the new part of the pond I had created for them to do just that. One fish in particular was swimming its heart out from one end to the other, and at different depths. I had a perfect view of this enjoyment and it made me extremely happy. And it was in this moment that it occurred to me that what I was feeling must be similar to what God feels when we enjoy what He’s created for us to enjoy. That’s the connection to being an image bearer, and that’s what it means. How often do you let things in your life like this in mine, remind you of your worth as an image bearer of God? Now, I know I’m not God, yet in that moment I felt closer to Him. I smiled for two reasons. My fish were enjoying what I created for them, and I was enjoying a small taste of what God must feel when He sees us enjoying what He’s created for us.

How often do you think God looks at us, and roots for us to find what He’s put out there for us to discover, like I was rooting for my fish? Don’t you think we’re worth more than fish to God? We must be. God sent His Son, Jesus, to restore the image He created in us by living a perfect life, and then dying on a cross in your place and mine. There is no better example of love or redemption than that. What are you doing with this? Do you think you know better? Or, will you let Jesus pay the price you can’t pay?

I’m ready to explore what God has in store, are you?