October 13, 2010

The Lifeguard

Lifeguard…usually a part-time Summer job given to young men and women. I remember being a kid and thinking that being a Lifeguard was the best job in the world. Plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and I could go swimming anytime I wanted. I'm sure that's what the subject of my story thought as well.

He's a lifeguard. And like most other lifeguards, when he took his training, he could almost smell the fresh air, feel the sunshine in his skin, (and let's be honest) he could envision all the pretty girls wanting him to came to their rescue.

Somewhere along the line, something went dreadfully wrong. He got a job guarding the children’s splash pool at the local city park. Day in and day out he sat by a pool that was too shallow to drown a cat and watched little children splash water all over each other. At night, in his dreams, instead of the sounds of pretty girls begging for his attention, he could hear the squealing of playful little children.

One afternoon, he was watching my kids. My wife sat by the pool and watched as well. On this particular day it was a good thing that she was watching. Olivia and Sawyer were fine, but the lifeguard wasn’t.

As Melissa watched the children, she began to wonder when the splash pool would be closing for the summer. So she went over to the lifeguard to ask him. When she got to his chair, he had the bill of his cap pulled down to shade his eyes, his hands were resting on his cheeks and his body was fixed in a posture that made him appear to be totally focused and attentive to the happenings in the pool. There was only one problem; he was asleep!

Imagine what could have happened. Parents had entrusted their children's lives to this fellow and he fell asleep on the job. Maybe he was tired. Maybe he was bored. Maybe this job just wasn't what he had in mind when he became a lifeguard. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. He should have never fallen asleep on the job. . .

Our expectations of Christianity aren't always grounded in realism. Being a Christian doesn't make us healthy, wealthy, or wise. It makes us forgiven and hopefully grateful. And with this blessing comes great responsibility. God entrusts us to reach the world with his life-saving message. We're lifeguards so to speak.

Being a Christian isn't always fun. Sometimes we are called into circumstances we would rather avoid. But who we are, and what we provide for the world, is important. God is counting on us to bring living water to a dying world. Don't fall asleep on the job!

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Luke 22:37-38)

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