Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lessons from the Deep

By Jeffrey Arthurs
Professor of Preaching & Communication and Dean of the Chapel

Last June I became a swimmer. I’ve been a consistent exerciser for many years—jogging and weights— but on the advice of my wife and chiropractor, I switched to swimming. Eyeing my stature and bulk, my chiropractor commented that brontosauruses spent a lot of time in the water to help bear their weight.

Last February I preached a short series on financial stewardship, and one of my main emphases was generosity. Of course, I meant generosity with money and possessions, but the Lord recently broadened that application for me.

When I swim, I hate sharing a lane. Because I’m as large as a brontosaurus, I don’t fit well with another swimmer in a single lane. My strokes sweep out to fill the whole shebang, so that when the other swimmer passes me, going the opposite direction, I have to time my stroke so that I’m sweeping in, not out. This probably adds a milli-second to my ordeal each time I pass the swimmer. I hate milli-seconds. Furthermore, the other swimmer makes waves, and these jostle me, adding more milli-seconds.

So when I’m in my own lane, happy as a bronto in the primeval ooze, and the pool is full, and a new swimmer enters the pool area, I dread the inevitable. He walks up to me, makes eye contact, and asks if he can share my lane. Of course, I say yes, but my heart throws a little hissy fit.

But it recently hit me—I need to be generous not only with money, but with swimming lanes. I need to have compassion on poor, lowly, downcast, laneless swimmers. I’ve been one myself. I need to welcome eye contact, not avoid it. I need to share out of my bounty. That was Jesus’ way.

What lanes do you need to share?

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