“Do you think we should leave the kids or not? Will they be ok without us? Or should we just take them with us and forget about the waterpark?”
That was the conversation that I had with my wife just three days ago as we were debating whether or not to leave our children – ages 8 and 6 – at a waterpark during our church’s weekend getaway to a local resort. They wouldn’t be alone there. They’d be with several other members of the STSA family – about 100 or so – but they would be without us.
As you can imagine, everyone was super excited to go to the waterpark on Saturday afternoon (remember it was Memorial Day weekend). But Marianne and I had to return home for a wedding that evening. So we had to decide what to do with our kids. They were excited to go to the waterpark, but we were worried.
“What if something happens while we’re gone…”
“What if they get hungry but are too shy to ask for anything…”
“What if they get lost in the crowds and commotion of all the people…”
“What if – God forbid – something even more serious happens in the water. I mean… they kinda sorta know how to swim, but they aren’t qualifying for the Olympic swim team any time soon.”
Imagine that I could somehow look down from the roof of that waterpark and see what was going on while I was gone. Imagine that it was time for lunch and everyone was eating but my kid was sitting alone on the bench without any food. Imagine that several people – those who say they are my friends – walked back and forth past him with lots and lots of food in their hands, yet they never once stopped to even ask my son if he’d like any. How would I feel towards those people?
Imagine that my daughter got thirsty and began to dehydrate. She’s too young to know that she needs water, but she just knows that something isn’t feeling right. So she lies down on the chair and clearly is in need of help. But then no one helps her. Again, they just walk past her and do nothing. They ask her, “are you ok?” but of course she doesn’t know any better so she says “yeah, I’m fine” and they accept that answer. CLEARLY SHE ISN’T FINE! But my so-called “friends” do nothing further.
Now imagine the worst case scenario – imagine my kids start sinking in the water and can’t keep afloat. They are kicking and screaming and flailing and doing whatever they can to get above water, but they just can’t. They need help. They need someone to rescue them – or at least to call out to the lifeguard and tell him what’s happening.
CAN YOU REALLY SAY THAT YOU’RE MY FRIEND IF YOU DO NOTHING?!?!?!?!
Unfortunately that’s a picture of life. God is our Father in heaven and He looks down upon the waterpark of this world. His heart yearns for His children whom He left here. He knows that He will come again one day to take them home with Him, but in the meantime He looks to us… the Church… His disciples… His so-called “friends”… to make sure that His kids are taken care of in His absence. That’s all He wants from us. That’s all.
But sadly many of us are doing nothing.
We see His children hungry – even though they won’t admit it – and do nothing.
We see His children thirsty – even though they often don’t even realize it – and do nothing.
We see His children drowning – helpless underneath the weight of this world and completely incapable of saving themselves – and do nothing.
And what do we do? What do YOU do? If we are His Church and we are His disciples and we are His friends, do we really have a choice? Is doing nothing even an option?
What would I do if I returned to the waterpark to find that my kids drowned and you did nothing to help? How could you and I be friends after that? How could you ever ask me to do anything for you ever again?
Please don’t rush through those questions without taking the time to think them through seriously and prayerfully. I promise you – God won’t rush through them when He returns to pick up His kids. He will take them very seriously and therefore we should too.
So again I ask: IS DOING NOTHING EVEN AN OPTION?
Now, let’s flip the story and end on a positive note.
The story starts the same – I leave my kids and go away. And one gets hungry. But this time, instead of ignoring him, you buy him a sandwich. Or even better, you give him yours. Now how would I feel when I see you again?
And the other kids gets thirsty and looks like she is about to pass out. But this time you don’t pass her by; instead you buy her a bottle of water and make sure to stay by her side until she drinks it and feels better. Now how would I feel when I see you again?
And this time, when the kids start drowning, you run across the waterpark and dive in headfirst to save them from drowning. Now how would I feel when I see you again?
“Above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Love really will cover a multitude of sins. Why? Because there’s nothing more valuable to a father than his kids. Love them and take care of them and you will find out for yourself.
For discussion: what can you share about the command of “love one another” and what it means to you?