When you live in Florida, you hear of drownings quite often. In fact, in places where there are none, you will see the sign above—No Lifeguard, Swim at Your Own Risk. Usually, just beyond the sign, dozens of people splash around in the water, regularly going out to depths over their heads. The risk to their lives bothers them not one wit. The fun is worth it.
Every summer my boys took the risk and I willingly allowed it. We splashed in Blue Springs, Poe Springs, and Ginnie Springs. We tubed down the Ichetucknee River from the spring head to just before the first bridge, pulling out and picnicking at the state park on tomato sandwiches and cold watermelon straight from the garden. We even swam in the Santa Fe River and Oleno State Park while alligators sunned themselves on the opposite shore. We weren’t the only ones who took the risks. Everyone did, it seemed, because we were always standing in lines.
For some reason, the risks involved in Christianity scare people much more.
In life, it might mean sharing your life preserver with someone else, someone not as generous as you. Turning the other cheek means you might very well be slapped again. Going the second mile might mean being forced to go five or ten more. Being willing to be defrauded to avoid casting aspersion on the body of Christ might mean losing money or worse, it seems, losing face.
In our Bible study, it might mean swimming in the deep waters of profound thought, opening minds that are already made up, accepting nothing without personally verifying it, and challenging our thinking—perhaps even admitting we have been wrong about something and changing. Scary indeed!
In our conversion, it means having the faith to step out of the boat in the middle of a storm, and walk wherever the Lord leads us, with or without a beloved mate, a good friend, or various members of the family.
Christians always put themselves at risk for their Lord’s sake. It is not as if we were not warned. He posts the sign Himself: Swim at Your Own Risk. But there is one difference—there is a Lifeguard when we take the plunge, one who has already given His life to save ours. Why not enjoy the swim when we have that guarantee of safety?
And he said unto them, if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it, Luke 9:23,24.