•  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Mr. Haley owned a pet store. While on a trip to Florida, he bought a large fish to take back to his store. He put the fish, called a grouper, in the large tank in the store's front window. There were also other interesting and unusual fish in the tank, but this new fish was the largest. It was about a foot long and weighed three pounds.
The grouper soon grew fat on the five pounds of chopped fish that Mr. Haley fed it every other day. The fish didn't move around much; it just stayed at the bottom of the tank. Mr. Haley decided that it was lazy. This made him think of a funny name for the fish—Flazey—short for fat and lazy.
Flazey soon became a favorite. Customers would stand at the tank watching it. Many of them talked about how fast the fish was growing.
Some weeks later Mr. Haley noticed that a few of the unusual and expensive tropical fish in the same tank were gone. He wondered who could be taking them out of the tank without his knowing it. He kept close watch on the customers in his store, but more of his expensive fish disappeared.
Then one day the mystery was solved. As he stood watching Flazey, suddenly one of his tropical fish worth several hundred dollars disappeared down its throat! His favorite and popular pet was the thief! Flazey had been eating Mr. Haley's expensive tropical fish for lunch.
Mr. Haley needed to find a way to stop Flazey from destroying more of his expensive fish. Since so many people, including himself, had grown fond of the grouper, he did not want to destroy it.
Mr. Haley's hard question of what to do with Flazey is a little picture of God's hard question of what to do with sinners and their sins. God loves sinners, but He hates their sins. It would have been fair and just if God had decided to destroy us along with our sins. That is what we deserve. But God's love for sinners was so great that He made a plan so that He could save us after punishing Another for our sins. His plan was very expensive. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the one punished] for our sins" (1 John 4:1010Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)).
So that sinners, who deserve nothing but punishment from God, could be saved, "the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:1414And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. (1 John 4:14)). God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, down into this world. The end of the path for the Lord Jesus down here was the cross of Calvary. During those three hours of darkness as He hung there, "Christ was... offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb. 9:2828So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)).
Word got around of Mr. Haley's difficult decision of what to do about Flazey. Mr. Haley's customers solved his problem. They collected money and bought him a plane ticket to Florida. Mr. Haley and Flazey flew back to Florida where Mr. Haley could put her safely back into the ocean where she came from.
Because Christ died to put away sins, God is able to reach out to sinners and offer them the forgiveness of sins and eternal life as a free gift. Won't you be one who, as a sinner, comes to Christ for salvation?