One entire day last week my wife and I shopped. For lighting fixtures for our bath and kitchen. Then, afternoon rush hour traffic in north San Diego County added a slow hour to our return. Likely one of the most exciting days of my life. So, to celebrate the joy, we mixed a couple of margaritas and relaxed by our waterfall to go over the day.
Soon several birds landed on the fence behind the waterfall, and the count grew to seven. Cautious, wanting a bath, but leery of the two giants so close. Finally, one flew down and began the classic tail feather shaking of a bird bathing. Another descended and perched on a rock in the stream bed, and two more landed on the top rocks (all these are visible in the pic). Three stayed on the fence as their partner had a fine time with his bath, but they soon departed. So did the two on the top rocks as the first one continued to enjoy his bath. The second, who came down to the water, never got in.
Please don't take the parable too far, but it does reveal some spiritual truths. Think about the waterfall stream as Jesus--a source of cleansing and refreshing. Some interested folk act like that first bird--courageous, willing to live the life first, taking risks, giving a model for others to follow. Some follow their leader and jump into the water, but just at the surface. They skip the bath. Others approach, they glide down from the fence to the upper rocks, but they never touch the water. Still others observe from a distance and leave with no involvement.
After pastoring for several decades, I've seen each of these. But I've always wondered why they chose their varying levels of approach. Fear. Complacency. Uncertainty if the water was good. An avoidance of change. The list could go on for pages.
But I hope we all make this post personal, and not about birds or others.
Kick Starting the Application
Take a few moments to examine your spiritual position. Of the four options, where are you in exploring Jesus? What most draws you to him? What most makes you hesitate or withdraw? Why do those factors motivate you? Do you yearn to splash in the stream for cleansing and refreshing? How can you take a step closer this week?