I’m not called to be successful but obedient to the message of Christ. That means telling even those who don’t want to hear it.
- Jim Shempert
This last weekend, I got to celebrate the first birthday of my niece. It was a hurricane of sugar infused little people running around constantly. In truth, I loved it. As tiring as kiddos can be, there is nothing that I love more than to be surrounded by children. As I have said in past blogs, I love children. I love the innocence that they approach the world with. I love the fact that they accept everything at face value. There is no cynicism, no doubt.
The house that the party was held at had an in-ground swimming pool. I think that kids are naturally attracted to swimming pools. Give them a little sugar saturated cake, and let the fun begin! My little girl likes to be in the pool but is not much of a swimmer yet. So I got in to let her float around. The hosts had an inflatable slide setup on the side of the pool which became grand central station for the 20 or so kids that were there. Having worked with children in various fashions at church, I can assure you, that they have all the personality traits of grownups. You have the fearless ones, the ones who take off head first down the slide and as soon as they pop up from the water say, “Let’s do it again!” You have the more grounded ones, who will slide into the pool and then casually swim over to the side and get back in line. Then, you have the timid ones, the ones who are scared to slide at first. Who barely clear the end, and who thrash violently to get back to the surface and swim viciously for the side and safety. If I am being honest, this group is my favorite. Why? Because they have the most potential for growth. The fearless ones can only grow so much, the grounded ones a little more, but the timid can climb to great heights, given the right push.
Normally, I would talk about my daughter, as she was my inspiration to resurrect One Million Dads. This blog though is about a little boy named Sam. Sam had a life vest, goggles, a sun hat, and floaties on his elbows. This dude was ready! He was also terrified of the pool. At social gatherings like this, I always find myself doing one of two things, entertaining the kids or taking photos. This party, I was playing “catcher” at the end of the slide. Sam’s mom is several months pregnant and was relaxing poolside. She asked me to watch out for him, which I gladly obliged. The first time down, Sam was scared to death. His whole little body was tense from fear. As soon as he touched the water, I grabbed him. The next time down, same situation. About the fourth or fifth time, he started to relax a little. He started to trust that I would catch him. As you can all imagine, the slide got used a lot that day. After a few hours, Sam called me over to the side of the pool. He was talking sort of low, and my hearing is bad on a good day. I couldn’t quite hear what he was saying, so his mom spoke up and said, “He doesn’t want you to catch him anymore.” Breakthrough. Victory. Little Sam, who a few hours before was scared to even get on the slide, now wanted me to get out of the way so he could slide down by himself.
Little Sam could teach us some things about our relationship with Christ. Are you timid in your relationship with Christ? Are you afraid to speak out publicly for Christ? Are you afraid to be known as a Christian? Are you afraid of what people might say or think about you if you present the Gospel as the centerpiece of your life?
Paul says it best:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day (2nd Timothy 1:7-12).
Paul exhorts you to stand for your faith. Stand up for Jesus. Not to say that Christ needs you to do anything. A popular meme on a lot of social media platforms reads, “The message of Jesus Christ does not need to be defended, but unleashed.”
This is so true. As a Christian, you hold the message of Truth. The world that is so lost in its sin needs the truth. How can we present a dark world the Light if we hide in a hole in the ground? If you hold the light, and cover it up, can it be seen any longer? I’m hearing “This little light of mine” in my head as I write this, but it is true.
It is my joy to present the Gospel of my Savior to the world. Does that mean that I will be successful? First of all, I’m not called to be successful but obedient to the message of Christ. That means telling even those who don’t want to hear it. The conviction of the Holy Spirit is what will ultimately lead them to salvation through Jesus Christ, not my weak meager efforts.
Be bold like little Sam. Shake off your fears. Dive head first into the unknown knowing that your Heavenly Father with catch you should you fall. Stand for Christ. Preach the Gospel. Bring light to the darkness.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)