Salmon begin their lives in the fresh water rivers of
the frigid Northwest. Not long after they’re born they
begin a long swim downstream. Their destination is the
ocean. It is here that they spend the majority of their
adult lives. Then something strange happens. Scientists
don’t even understand how, but at some point the adult
salmon begins to swim back home. Though they may have
swum thousands of miles from that original river
location they head back home. That’s right! They swim
upstream, against the current of the river. You’ve
probably seen nature programs on TV that show them
leaping out of the water to overcome waterfalls and
other barriers impeding their progress. They face
predators like bears and people. Incredibly, though
they’ve been gone for years many of them return to the
exact spot where they were born. I saw a documentary on
one determined salmon that even swam through a maze of
pipes and nudged open a grate to re-enter the hatchery
where it was born. After an incredible effort the fish
spawn. The new salmon are soon born and repeat the
Does that describe you? Does your life have a
destination? Are you going in a specific direction and
are you willing to face all the obstacles to get there?
If so, you’re a lot like the salmon.
Then there’s the jellyfish. There are numerous species
of these yucky-looking little creatures. Some of them
are tiny. Others have tentacles that can be measured in
feet. Jellyfish are born in the ocean and die there too.
They have limited movement, but never really use that
ability to go in any particular destination. They’re
moved along primary by the wind and waves and tides.
They drift about stinging and surviving. Occasionally
one will wash up on the beach and, if you’re not
careful, you’ll step on it and mess up your vacation. I
Are you more like a jellyfish than a salmon? Do you just
kind of float from here to there with no real purpose?
The difference between salmon and jellyfish is the same
as the difference between a lot of people. Some have a
direction. Most just drift.
We’re about to go into a short series of sermons on the
life of Samson. Sad to say, Samson often acted more like
a jelly fish than a salmon. He was clearly created for a
purpose and God’s great desire was to use him in
spectator ways. However, Samson became a floater. And
floating led him down a path of both spiritual and
The story does hold a triumphant ending, but also a sad ending.
Samson forgot he was made for something special. The same is true of
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ
Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long
ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]