Thanks to the wonder of technology, I can take you along on one of my morning walks. Strap on your tennis shoes and come along.
Here’s what I saw this morning:
These steps belong to a little guy named David. He’s here on the island with his family. His steps are tentative, shy, and a little bit scared.
Occasionally, however, he gets brave and darts toward the ocean, causing his mama to grab him by the hand and walk toward the water with him. In the few days since we’ve shared the beach with David, we’ve seen him grow in wisdom and understanding about how to walk on the beach
David reminds me of baby Christians. New believers just starting the faith journey. They don’t know a lot about the Bible or about God, but they’re eager to learn and test their faith legs.
These footprints belong to a strong man named Pete. I pass him every morning. Or maybe I should say he passes me. Pete is a runner. He’s fit, prepared, and committed.
Pete reminds me of mature believers. They take their commitment to God seriously. They study God’s Word, share it with others, and base their lives on its principles. They are healthy and strong in their faith and are committed to running the spiritual race with perseverance. They are the men and women the unknown writer of Hebrews challenges to “run . . . the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1).
These steps belong to a loggerhead turtle I’ll call Lulu. I came across her foot, er, flipperprints the morning after she’d hauled her 300-lb. body out of the sea and 50 yards up the beach to lay her eggs in the sand. Her task was monumental, yet she accomplished it. She fulfilled God’s purpose for her—to reproduce herself many times over.
Lulu reminds me of the woman at the well in John 4. Despite the seemingly insurmountable obstacles of her past sin, social stigma, and gender, she boldly shared her faith with anyone who would listen and brought an entire town to Christ. She spiritually reproduced herself.
These steps belong to Joe. He’s not running, but he is out on the beach walking, despite a limp that causes him to drag his foot. He won’t win any distance contests, but he doesn’t want to miss out on the joy of walking the beach with his family and friends.
Joe reminds me of Christians who have stumbled, fallen, and are wounded. The faith walk is harder for them, because injuries and scars limit and affect their movement. Some areas of Christian service are no longer an option for them, but others have opened up—not despite their scars, but because of them. Like Pete, their walk is characterized by commitment. While some around him are disturbed by their limp, others are attracted to it. They know that it is often the bruised flowers that release the most fragrance.
These steps belong to Betty. Betty doesn’t walk long miles each morning on the beach either; she counts steps. Betty has a knee that has deteriorated beyond repair, yet because of other health concerns, she’s a poor candidate for knee replacement surgery. When she walks, she leans heavily on a cane.
Betty’s steps remind me of the biblical character Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan. Mephibosheth was injured when a nurse dropped him during a political upheaval (2 Sam. 4:4). His life circumstances (none of which were his fault) could have caused him to become angry and bitter. They could have provided an excuse for him to give up on God.
Instead, Mephibosheth chose to walk in integrity and trust. Despite frightening events and an uncertain future, Mephibosheth’s faith walk was upright and honorable. Within himself, he had no hope, yet God supported him every time he leaned on him.
Ultimately, God rewarded Mephibosheth’s faithfulness by feeding him from the king’s table all the days of his life. Mephibosheth’s weakness provided an opportunity for God to show himself strong.
If you’re having trouble seeing the footprints here, it’s because there aren’t any.
These absent prints belong to a jellyfish. Instead of walking, he’s been drifting, completely defenseless against the tides, wind, and waves. He has no intended path and leaves no imprint on the world except when he accidentally brushes up against someone and leaves his poisonous mark behind.
Mr. Jellyfish reminds me of the Ephesians, whom Paul described as “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 1:4). They failed to study the Scripture, so they were unable to distinguish the difference between sound and faulty teaching. If they lived today, they’d be dabbling in Eastern mysticism, transcendental meditation, and secular humanism.
They’d mix the truths of Scripture with the philosophies of men to create a weak, watered-down version of Christianity with no power to save or transform. The only effect they have is to hurt and poison others.
If you were walking the beach with me today, which footsteps would be yours?
Are you a baby believer, just learning how to navigate the faith walk? Are you a strong runner, pushing hard toward the goal of honoring God every step of the way? Are you damaged and walking with a limp, but still pressing on? Are you seriously wounded, yet leaning on God for the strength to finish the race? Or are you a jelly fish, floating along with little purpose or direction, expending little effort and tossed about with every wave of circumstance?
I encourage you, whichever you are, to make every footstep count for God.
Let’s press on together.
Upcoming Speaking Engagement:
Palmetto Center for Women’s Trinity Focus Luncheon
Thursday, June 12 from Noon to 1pm
This is Winston. Winston likes to sleep.
This is Winston’s mom, owner and understudy, Lori Hatcher. Lori has an eye-opening talk for us at next month’s Palmetto Center for Women’s Trinity Focus luncheon.
It’s called “Sleep Is a Waste of Time.”
It’s called “Sleep Is a Waste of Time.”
At least that’s what this editor for Reach Out, Columbia magazine used to think. Lori has said, “Sleeping eight hours a night means spending one-third of my life unconscious and having nothing to show for it. No productivity. None.”
How many of us view sleep as inconvenient? Lori would watch her college friends sleep until noon on Saturdays, yet she’d be up early not wanting to waste a moment of the day. Her spirit was willing to work long into the night, but her body would be plagued by waning energy, fuzzy thinking, and drooping eyelids. Like so many of us experience in our crazy chaos, we collapse into bed in frustration and start the cycle all over again the next day.
But recently, this self-proclaimed sleep scorner awoke to a new, Biblical perspective by discovering that God CARES about sleep.
Not only cares, but has given us guidelines and principles to help us glorify him even in our sleep.
Bring it on, Lori. We want to hear what you’ve learned. We promise not to doze off.
WHAT: Palmetto Center for Women’s Trinity Focus Luncheon
WHERE: The Capital City Club // 1201 Main Street, 25th Floor // Columbia, SC 29201
WHEN: Thursday, June 12 from Noon to 1pm
HOW: Register by June 11 and pay $15 at http://www.palmettocenterforwomen.org/programs-and-events.php or email Belinda at firstname.lastname@example.org and pay $15 at door.
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