Everyone has those movies that they could watch time after time and always feel entertained and satisfied. For me, that movie is “Finding Nemo”. If you have never seen it, first, do yourself a service – go find it and watch it. Second, a quick synopsis – Nemo (a clown fish) gets lost and we following his father, Marlin, embark on a journey out of his undying love to find his son. Along the way both Nemo and Marlin make new friends that teach them new lessons.
I believe that one lesson that is evident is when Marlin is becoming discouraged while pursuing his son, his new friend Dorie encourages him to just keep swimming. She encourages to not give up not matter how hard it may be. We all need “Dories” in our life – someone who will walk alongside of us and motivate us to never quit on what we have set out to do.
Growing up and watching this movie, I noticed one thing that is pretty blatant – compelled by love a father will do anything for his child, even if that means swimming across the ocean and facing near death experiences. Marlin is clearly symbolizing the good shepherd – someone willing to risk it all for the sake of his lost child; a child that may or may not be found. Marlin is the father or even person I want to be in life and in the Church. Shouldn’t that be our goal – to seek the lost, like Marlin, and to walk with them in accountability, like Dorie?
Man that would be awesome!
However, I find my role in the church to not reflect Marlin or Dorie at all. In fact, I find myself to be more and more like the seagulls, “MINE! MINE! MINE!” This is one of the ugly truths of my life and I believe we all have some “seagull” in us. Now don’t get me wrong I volunteer in the church I attend. What I have to check my guard about are my motives of my heart for serving.
It’s just our human condition to see what we can get out serving for ourselves. I find myself trying to find fulfillment for myself, searching for self-satisfaction and joy out of my service to the Church. But more often than not, when I’m serving in the church I would sometimes leave feeling empty. Now there are two kinds of empty:
- Empty – serving to the point of exhaustion for the glory of God. Being tired after investing and pouring into lives for the Kingdom.
- Empty – laboring to find something you can gain or satisfy yourself due to pride in your service. But ends up like scooping up water – empty handed
I thought I was accomplishing the first empty, in reality I was achieving the second “empty”. Only by the grace of God I found out how I fell in the second category rather than the first. I wasn’t producing fruit in my service. The fruit I did produce was labeled, “MINE!” I wasn’t getting anything out of my service because I was doing it for myself, that people would see me “doing something” which ironically was doing nothing. Jesus tells us that if we want to find life in our service we have to die to everything that we find self-fulfilling.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25
When we serve others to subliminally fulfill ourselves we’ve missed the goal. When we serve others to fulfill the sake of Christ, we find life and joy in who Jesus is and how He works in the Church. Let us die to our “seagull syndrome” and selfish desires; and become more like Marlin and Dorie – seek the lost at all costs and walk in encouraging accountability.