Using a metaphor or parable is undoubtedly one of the most trusted and effective teaching tools known to mankind. Jesus, of course, was extremely fond of using them and used so many. I love the old English word for parables that I found in the King James Version of Hosea 12:10 – ‘similitudes’. The Kingdom of heaven is similar to, or like, a net, a pearl, a mustard seed, or a farmer scattering seed. By using these every day illustrations Jesus taught generations of believers profound lessons even children could understand.
Though as far as I know it’s not mentioned in the Bible, the humble sea anemone provides an interesting metaphor to meditate on. Each time we encounter one (either on TV or in real life) it can help us remember some things about the Kingdom of God!
The people of God are like sea anemones. They aren’t what they seem! A casual observer might conclude after a cursory glance that sea anemones are part of the plant kingdom. After all, they appear to be planted on the seabed and they’re named after the beautiful terrestrial anemone plant! The truth though, as probably most people know, is that sea anemones are a group of water dwelling animals, and they belong to the animal kingdom!
Isn’t that like Christians? The casual, unsaved, observer might think we’re just like other people, except a bit odd, since we go to Church on a Sunday and don’t do some of the things the world does. But, on closer inspection, it turns out we’re completely different! We belong to a different kingdom, and we have a radically different view of life, death, morality, truth and judgement. So take courage if you’re mistaken for just another ‘religious person’ with your own version of what you believe in. We know the truth about ourselves. We’re radically different, because we’re born again!
An interesting fact about sea anemones is that they can actually move. Though they appear to be planted in one spot, they can choose to detach and move elsewhere if the situation calls for it. Shouldn’t we, as children of God, be the same? The old saying ‘bloom where you’re planted’ is sensible advice. However, if God calls us elsewhere, we need to be able to let go and move to wherever it is He sends us. We can do this if we’re deeply rooted and anchored in God’s unconditional love on the inside.
When I saw the stunning array of the various species of sea anemone I realised we can show forth God’s glory, as they do, simply by being ourselves. We’re all believers, and we’re part of one family. But within that family there are beautiful and spectacular differences. We’re meant to be a colourful family! And together we portray God’s creative genius. So there are many ways the people of God are like sea anemones. Perhaps you can think of some others yourself!
Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You that I’m part of Your family. Thank You that You made me, brought me into Your family, and that I belong in Your Kingdom. I’m so glad that I’m Yours. Amen.
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