Swim!  Swim!  Come on!  Swim!!!--by Kimberly B. Southall

sharkOn a television show, I watched a seasoned lifeguard being pursued by a great white shark in ocean waters. Fellow lifeguards stood on a nearby boat watching with fear. One young lifeguard stood on the boat's platform with his arms outstretched, urgently coaching the lifeguard, "Swim! Swim! Come on! Swim!" The distance between the shark and the lifeguard swimming for his life grew shorter and shorter. With more intensity, the young lifeguard on the platform continued frantically urging, "Swim! Swim! Come on! Swim!!!" And finally, just as the shark opened its fierce jaws, the swimming lifeguard reached the platform and the young lifeguard pulled him to safety. Wow! That was exciting viewing. Even while knowing it was fictional television, it still kept me on the edge of my seat.

But the excitement wasn't over. For immediately after both the rescued and the rescuer were safely on board, something important to the rescuer was accidentally knocked overboard. And, without even thinking, the young lifeguard, who had just rescued his friend, jumped overboard to get what was important to him. As soon as the young lifeguard heard the urgent cries of his fellow lifeguards on the boat, he realized what he'd done. All concern for his prized possession vanished as it sank to the ocean floor. The young lifeguard's attention was now focused on the shark fin coming straight toward him. Swimming toward the boat platform would also be swimming toward the approaching killer shark! The young lifeguard just treaded water where he was, not even knowing what he could or should do. Stark fear shown on his face, as the realization sunk in that he was probably going to die. But, television being what it is, another lifeguard grabbed a container of boat fuel and tossed it into the water between the shark and the young lifeguard. The shark took the bait and attacked the fuel container. Just then, the young lifeguard dove beneath the waters as the lifeguard onboard took aim and fired a flare toward the fuel container and shark. Boom! Problem solved.

How often do we find a friend or ourselves under attack in shark infested waters? Well, obviously, we don't–at least not literally. But it does happen often–spiritually.

If we found ourselves safely in a boat with a friend in the water being pursued by a killer shark, it wouldn't be difficult for us to recognize the imminent danger, would it? We would most assuredly be on the boat platform, reaching out a hand and urging them, "Swim! Swim! Come on! Swim!!!" Indeed, there are times when we recognize that fellow Christians are in sin infested waters. Do we reach out our hands and urge them to swim back to the safety of Jesus Christ? Or do we leave them to their own devices and leave them to the sharks? That's some food for thought, isn't it?

And what about ourselves? Do we, even knowing the danger of those waters, place too much importance on something other than our love for Jesus and foolishly jump into sin infested waters so that we need rescuing? Before you deny it, think about those sin infested waters of bitterness, rage, slander, sexual immorality, idolatry, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, envy, drunkenness, hatred, evil thoughts, theft, greed, malice, deceit, arrogance, gossip, boasting, disobedience, faithlessness, rudeness, hypocrisy . . . The list could go on and on. Do we find ourselves in those sin infested spiritual waters? Do we ever value something so much as to foolishly jump into them before we consider what we are doing? Sure we do. The key, of course, is to wise up and realize that we need to get back on the boat and stay there with Jesus Christ.

When you find yourself in those sin infested waters, be sure that you look for help toward the Savior and not away from Him. He will provide a way, if you will just make the effort. He is right there on the platform with His hands outstretched toward you beckoning . . . "Swim! Swim! Come on! Swim!"

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.