Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Lifeguard Team

Oh boy. I came to my blog this morning--Thursday, mind you--and realized that I haven't updated since Monday. In blog-time that's, like, forever. So today I really need to put something out there. Anything.

Except I can't think of anything to really tell you.

I'm sure you don't want to hear my laundry woes. Or me complaining about the weather. Or the furniture that was supposed to be delivered that isn't coming now until mid-June. (Grrrr.)

So, to find some inspiration, I went to my reader and started reading blogs I like. And you know what? At least four of the blogs that had updated this morning started out with some form of "I've had writer's block all week and don't know what to write about."

So it's not just me. Thank goodness.

But I have had one thought swirling around in my head all week that probably needs to come out. It's really just a recap of the sermon our pastor gave on Sunday, but it has stuck with me, which, to me, is a pretty good indication that I should share it with you guys.

Actually, most of our pastor's sermons stick with me. He's that good. And, knowing Josh, he would say it's not him. He'd say it's just him being faithful to the Word. And he is. Which is probably why his sermons stick with me.

Anyway, we've been working our way through I Corinthians on Sunday mornings because that's what we do at our church--work our way through books of the Bible. It's called expositional preaching and not that many churches do it anymore, but ours is pretty traditional and that's what we do. I love it.

Last Sunday we got to chapter 10 of I Corinthians (or "One Corinthians" if you're British like Josh is). Here's what 10:33-11:1 says (in the NIV): "For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." And here's what our pastor said about that: "Following Jesus, imitating Him, means giving our lives for the salvation of other people."

Clear. Simple. Direct. We aren't here for ourselves. We're here to make sure others get saved.

And then he used this illustration (the part that has really stayed with me all week). Josh talked about going to the pool in the summer and going down the water slides. They are fun. They are fast. They can be dangerous, which is why they have lifeguards standing at the bottom of the water slides to make sure the kids are safe. He then said, "Wouldn't it be terrible if the lifeguards were just standing around at the bottom of the water slide, talking about their weekend or what they are going to do when they get off their lifeguard shift, when all the while a little kid is flailing around in the water, struggling to stand up?"

Yes, it would be terrible. Because the job of a lifeguard is to save lives.

Then Josh said that as believers, we are all on the lifeguard team. Our job is not to argue about the small things (a big theme in One Corinthians), but to have a purpose. And that purpose, according to I Corinthians 10:33, is to save lives.

I don't know about you, but for me this really puts things into clear perspective. It helps me figure out my priorities, gives me direction for my days. Not that I have to stand on the street corner and shout "Jesus Saves" to the passing cars. It's just that what I need to be about, whether it's through my writing or taking care of my family or being a friend to others, is being a lifeguard.

Because you know what? There's a whole world out there that is drowning.

Toward the end of his sermon Josh addressed those who might have been in church who didn't yet know Jesus. He said, "You might not be on the lifeguard team yet. You might feel like you are drowning. But you've come to the right place, because here you are in a room full of lifeguards." Isn't that cool? A room full of lifeguards, just waiting to help rescue the few who might not yet believe.

I used to be a lifeguard way back when. I worked at the pool at my high school when it was available for community use. Most days I would do nothing. I would sit in a chair by the side of the pool and watch the swimmers go back and forth, back and forth. But one day I noticed that a little girl was struggling, so I did what I was trained to do--I jumped in and saved her.

You know what? That was scary for me. I wasn't sure, after all those hours of sitting poolside, whether I'd be up to the task. But I jumped in anyway and did what I needed to do.

This week I've been thinking a lot about being a lifeguard. I am on the lifeguard team, and I want to be ready to be used whenever I'm needed. It's scary. I pray I'm up to the task. But I want to be ready and available.

Will you join me?



  1. Awesome reminder to each of us. Yes, we are lifeguards. We have in our hearts what everyone needs, and that is Jesus. It isn't about us, it is about everyone who needs Jesus because, without Him, they are headed straight to an eternity separated from Him. I believe we will be held accountable for each opportunity to be a lifeguard that we didn't take. Thanks for sharing!

  2. GREAT post! Thanks!

    Our church has just started wading through the book of Exodus and our pastor says we might be in it for about 4 years!

  3. Jesus says, "Follow me." What does it mean to follow Jesus? It means giving your life (dying to self)so some might be saved. Great post!

  4. You bet I'll join you Shelly. Just this morning I got the same message in my quiet time. Granted, it had nothing to do with lifeguards and everything to do with seeds, but it was the same message still. The point was that we all need to be planting the seed of our testimony and the gospel because if we don't, we won't be given anymore seed. Well I don't want to be left out when it comes to seed planting. I need to get busy doing my job.

    Loved your blog today. Thanks for the reminder to fulfill our one true and lasting purpose.

  5. I've also thought about that illustration throughout this week! My mom's next door neighbor passed away last week -- an older man. He did not know the Lord (to our knowledge), though others had witnessed to him. My mom would always say, "Walk over there and talk to him" and I would tell her, "He's your neighbor, mom; you need to do that!" (though she knew another neighbor had repeatedly and pointedly). At any rate, the man's son came and told mom he died -- said it was karma. And you know what, I just felt so sick and sad... what would it have hurt to have just tried to talk to this reclusive man on my occasional visits home. I was so convicted and then with Josh's message. I've wanted to just walk up to people this week and tell them... I'll keep you posted! Because if Jesus is real, and He is, and if His Word is true, and it is, then I need to believe Him enough to risk for the sake of those lost lives. I know He ultimately does the work, but I want to obey... thanks for the reminder again!

  6. Thanks, all, for your wonderful comments today. Carolyn, I know that feeling, and because of that I have tears in my eyes right now.