Timothy: A Little Fish with a Big Purpose by Brad Riley and Illustrated by Krystahl Goodale
Children’s stories are a standby at our house, for my daughter loves to hear an engaging and entertaining one. This new book entitled Timothy: A Little Fish with a Big Purpose by Pastor Brad Riley is more than entertaining, for this story about obedience and God’s care over all of creation is stunning in both its message and illustrations. The story centers around Jesus’ words in Matthew 17 as he sends Peter to go a catch a fish in whose mouth there is a shekel. After catching the fish, Peter is to use the shekel to pay taxes for Jesus and himself. This extraordinary miracle is laden with meaning that such ordinary people or fish, in this case, acting in obedience unto the Lord, can be used by God to spark something truly miraculous. With this point in mind, Pastor Brad tells the story of how this very fish, Timothy, was being prepared by the Lord for a special occasion, and how his obedience to his mother and grandmother led him to the place where he was used by God to bring about a shekel for the Lord.
In the book, Timothy is elated to travel from his mother’s home on the sea floor to his grandma’s each morning. His one promise to his grandma was to pick up anything on the sea floor that didn’t belong. As the story progresses, we find out that Timothy loves his grandmother very much and more than anything desires to spend time with her. The point that rang true here for me is that obedience done out of love drives a person to cherish the one they are obeying. For Timothy, the task of picking up debris on the seabed was not a costly or burdensome endeavor, but a joyful task done in love. Does the Lord desire a slavish obedience and begrudging attitude? I think not. But rather, obedience like Timothy’s done by a joyful spirit brings glory to the Lord.
The story unfolds as a tale in which every step of Timothy’s life develops into a climactic point in which he provides the necessary tax money for Peter and the Lord. The descriptions of Timothy, the colorful and beautiful illustrations of the book all add to the powerful message of the story. Even a small fish in the waters of the Sea of Galilee can be used to bring about the miracles of the Lord Jesus. No task is too small for faithfulness and obedience to run its course. I heartily recommend this book to children and even to adults who want to read to their children.
Thanks to Cross Focused Reviews and Vox Dei Press for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for review.