Swimming in the Deep End

September 12, 2011 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership

Lauren was just a little over a year and a half (turned 11 today) when her mom took her and her 4 year old sister to the neighborhood pool in Twin Chimneys where we had just moved.  She set Lauren down to get Maylee’s floaties set on her when she heard the big splash.  She turned around and Lauren had run and jumped in.  Now with her arms and legs flailing as fast as they could go, she is “swimming.”  Heidi quickly jumps in after her and pulls her out.  As she is pulling her out, Lauren is excitedly (Let’s not get confused here.  She was neither scared nor nervous this entire time.  Mom was.  Lauren was not.) repeating, “I swim. I swim. I swim.”

And so it was with Lauren Loften her entire life to date.  She always wanted to be able to swim, by herself, no life jacket, no floaties, nothing (Ultimately, Heidi had to make the decision to put the lifejacket on Lauren at the house, before we even got into the van to drive to the pool.  No chances.  She would have done it again.).  She also wanted to swim in the deep end.  She didn’t understand that rope and why other people got to swim on the other side of it and she didn’t.  Her goal, as with a lot of kids, was to swim in the deep end.

And why not?  It’s where everything is just a little bit better.  You can do more stuff.  You can dive, you can swim down to the bottom, it’s just better.

(Sudden shift) But what if everyone who was capable of  swimming in the deep end, exclusively swam in the deep end?  No one ever left and went to the shallow end.  What would happen?  No one new would ever learn to swim.  Experts could get better, but no one else would learn.  Who teaches new people to swim?  People who already know how.  (Wow, that is deep.  Is this going somewhere?  Yes.)

In part 3 of our vision series, we talked about how God wants us to grow.  He wants us to become more like his son, Jesus.  We want God to change what we believe and our character.  Ultimately, he wants to do this so that, like Jesus, we can lay our lives down for other people.  We are “blessed to be a blessing.”  We grow to help others grow.  We learn so we can teach.

I believe that God does want us to enjoy the “deep end.”  He wants us to have and enjoy all the benefits of being close to him.  He wants us to be strong swimmers so we can navigate the waves of life.  But in addition to all of that, he very much wants us to give our lives away to those who need help–physical, spiritual, emotional help.

There is something inherently selfish in the hearts of those of us who believe that we grow and draw close to God simply for our own benefit. He wants to GROW you so he can SEND (next week) you into the world, because he wants to change the world through you.

Philippians 2

Imitating Christ’s Humility

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

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