Growing up in East Tennessee, I was blessed to live close to the water. I spent much of my time out on the lake swimming and fishing. In high school, I worked on the docks of a marina, parking boats and filling them up with gas. It beat working at the fast-food places where most of my friends worked for sure. This was often taken for granted. I grew up thinking that there was a lake in every town for the people to enjoy. Now, when I travel back east, I am reminded of how beautiful it really is. The way the sunlight glistens over the ripples, and how the fish jump out of the water without notice, is breathe taking. On the other hand, there was this gross looking pond on my neighbor’s property around the corner from my house where I grew up. I recall it being such an eye sore. Imagine this mosquito-infested pond with a thick coat of green scum on the surface. Weeds and the constant buzzing of flies also surrounded it. The contrast between the river and the pond was quite substantial. Why is this? It all has to do with the current. The river is constantly flowing which prevents stagnation. Water is continually running in and out. Inactivity is what causes the pond to be so nasty and gross. In regards to our spiritual life, which one do we relate to the most, the river or the pond? We often feel stagnant because we are taking so much in, and nothing is flowing out; it just sits there to fester. This often happens when we are content with just warming the pews. Think about the many sermons and Bible studies that we have sat through. If we do not act on all that information coming in, if we just sit on it, we will become stagnant like the pond. Notice with me in Philippians 2:4, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” When we look outside of ourselves, and place the emphasis on other people, the feeling of lethargy will subside due to the flow of what is coming in is also going out. We find true joy in helping out the brethren, and it is okay to feel this way as long as we are not trying to earn anything by doing so. In the Gospel of Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Let’s not be overwhelmed. We are not expected to go from a sedentary pond to a raging river overnight. A steady stream of kindness will get things moving.
~ Chris Melton