Pastor lived at the Outpost, one of the few Cities of Refreshing on the outskirts of the Great Desert. He and his Family enjoyed the strength and courage they drew from the Fellowship they were connected with. It was his responsibility to help the Fellowship walk in Faith and Unity and find their daily Nourishment from the Spirit and the Word. Pastor loved the members of the Fellowship, he desired for each of them to walk in the fullness of Life purchased for them by the Son.
Pastor loved Life and found much enjoyment from tending to living things. He would tend to his Family with focused passion and attention, drawing great satisfaction from speaking the languages of Love to each of them. He would tend to his Lawn, introducing each Blade to Water and Fertilizer while combating the enemies of Grubs and Weeds. Pastor also had a great love for his Fishtank, a thirty gallon encounter with the world’s most vast and mysterious resource, the Ocean.
One day Pastor went with his son to Petstore. It was a marvelous world filled with talking birds, slithering snakes, and new additions for his Fishtank. It just so happened that this very day was half price day at Petstore, and a beautiful array of fish were available. As Pastor browsed among the fish, he discovered Mandarin Goby. Mandarin Goby was a brilliant fish full of vibrant color and delicate movement. Pastor broke Rule Number 10 of Fishtank ownership and made an impulse purchase of Mandarin Goby, for half price, of course.
Upon arriving at his new home, Mandarin Goby was quickly acclimated to the thirty gallon Fishtank where his beauty and grace made an enchanting addition to the small ecosystem. Then Pastor set about doing what should have been done before the purchase, he researched the proper care for his new purchase.
Through his reading, Pastor discovered that Mandarin Goby is one of the crown jewels of a Fishtank, valued for its spectacular coloring, but Pastor was disheartened to learn that Mandarin Goby was a four out of five on the difficulty scale of fish care. Research indicated Mandarin Goby was an extremely picky Eater, would not aggressively pursue Nourishment, and, typically, would only Eat Living Food. Pastor determined that he would not allow his half price purchase to be in vain. He blessed Mandarin Goby and declared “Healthy Eating” over him.
As time passed, Mandarin Goby began to get thinner and thinner. Pastor soon discovered that an emaciated fish is an ugly sight. Pastor tried a variety of tactics to encourage Mandarin Goby to Eat. He increased the supply of Food to all of the residents of the Fishtank. He also isolated Mandarin Goby in a Nutrient Rich Environment of Brine Shrimp. Sadly, Mandarin Goby still refused to eat. Finally, Pastor invested in some Copepods, a Living Food especially attractive to Picky Eaters like Mandarin Goby. Along with the purchase of Copepods came the purchase of Microalgae (neither at half price) to feed the Copepods — everything needs to Eat, of course.
Pastor became encouraged. He had provided the right Food for Mandarin Goby! However, Mandarin Goby was not an Aggressive Eater and had Tankmates who found the Copepods to be an attractive Meal as well. Mandarin Goby was swimming in a Nutrient Rich environment, but, although Pastor could place the right Food in the Water, he could not make Mandarin Goby Eat.
One day, as Pastor was preparing to leave for a Spiritual Retreat, he discovered Mandarin Goby dead at the bottom of Fishtank. Pastor’s heart was broken as he provided a proper burial for his departed friend. His half priced crown jewel was now receiving the Royal Flush.
As Pastor reflected upon his brief adventure with Mandarin Goby, he began to think about his beloved friends at the Fellowship. “How are they Eating?” he wondered. Pastor realized how much like Mandarin Goby the Fellowship could be. He had devoted his life to providing a Nutrient Rich Environment in which the Fellowship could grow, but did they face the same challenges as Mandarin Goby? Would they be aggressive Eaters or would they be picky Eaters? Pastor could lead the Fellowship to the Word, but he could not make them Think. Pastor prayed and blessed the Members of the Fellowship. He prayed they would live their lives with Hunger and Passion. He prayed they would earnestly pursue Relationship with the Spirit through Study of the Word. He prayed their hearts would find Nourishment from the Food he provided for them.
He made a Covenant with the Fellowship: I will do my best to provide Living Food for you, but you must choose to Eat. And the Fellowship determined that what he said was good.