I’m on vacation this week at Tybee Island, GA. This is my first visit here and I am thoroughly enjoying it! If you’re not familiar with Tybee, it’s at the mouth of the Savannah River, right where it dumps into the Atlantic Ocean. The condo we’re staying in is on the river side of the island and very quiet. We have wide, pristine beaches and no waves. There’s a small lighthouse just down the way from us. And there are plenty of shells to choose from. We also get to see boats moving in and out, since we are just downstream from the port in Savannah.
This morning, when I first went out to the beach, I noticed a shrimp boat in the water. I was excited, thinking I would get to see dolphins. They follow the shrimp boats to get the fish the shrimpers throw overboard. I quickly noticed the boat wasn’t moving. It was then that I noticed how close to shore it was. Of course! It had gotten grounded when the tide went out. I found myself wondering how much trouble the poor pilot must be in.
A couple hours later, the boat was still there, but it was no longer pointed upstream. In fact, it was bobbing about quite a bit and clearly wasn’t grounded. And, to make matters worse, it was now sideways in the river. Well, maybe it had an engine problem.
As we were watching and wondering, we saw another shrimp boat headed up the river. Yay…they’re getting rescued! Or not. The boat barely slowed down as it passed the stranded boat.
We left for our day’s adventures, assuming the boat would be gone when we got back. After several hours of eating, walking, shopping and sightseeing on scooters, we returned. To say we were shocked to see the boat still bobbing there could be an understatement. Yet, there it was, looking so much like a bathtub toy forgotten by its owner.
As I stood, tossing around speculations about the boat and why it was there, it made me think of our walks as Christians.
Sometimes…oftentimes…life doesn’t go as planned. We get stuck, for one reason or another. Others may speculate, point, take pictures or go on as if nothing’s happening. But that’s not at all what we need.
The first thing I did when I saw that boat stuck was to make an assumption. Low tide plus unmoving boat must mean it was grounded by sand. Oh…tide is up…maybe they messed up their motor. Oh, here comes a boat -its going to help! Turns out none of that was true..well, maybe the motor part. But all my speculations weren’t helping them move upstream one bit!
And so it is when we see our fellow Christians stuck. We assume. Oh…they must have sin in their lives. They’re not praying enough. He’s not reading his Bible like He should. She’s not attending church regularly. Oh, surely the pastor will help them.
Well, here’s what I believe we’re supposed to do – help. Don’t speculate. Don’t pry. Don’t gossip. Don’t assume. Pray. Offer practical help. Take that brother or sister by the hand and lead them. Or at least keep them company.
The truth is, we seldom know what is happening when our brothers and sisters get stuck. But the last thing they need at that point is to hear everything they’re doing wrong. They need encouragement. They need love. Maybe they need a dinner. Or free babysitting. Maybe they need a friend.
So. Who’s with me? Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone and reach out to someone who needs it?
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2