It was one of those warm summer evenings in Northern California where the heat of the day is lingering and the climate is just perfect; not too hot, not too cold with a gentle breeze. We were attending a party in a beautiful tree lined back yard with a pool, manicured lawn, potted plants busting with color, comfortable – conversation ready – chairs, bountiful food elegantly displayed, thirst quenching beverages, and good friends with their kids…it was a fun, life-lifting time of chit-chat, sharing stories, and even some moments of encouraging deep talk. It was wonderful!
As I was in the midst of connecting with a friend I noticed a few of the young kids edging ever closer to the pool. There were plenty of adults around so I let my senior life saving and WSI (water safety Instructor) training relax a bit, though I did have one eye on the wobbly toddler who seemed to be fascinated by the floating rubber ducky taunting him just out of reach. Without thinking much about it I edged closer to the pool and continued the conversation.
I can’t recall all that happened next but in a split second my friend Jack, a doctor and strong swimmer had jumped in the pool, clothes and all and I had dropped my drink and reaching down as Jack scooped up the toddler and I had his arm before he had gone all the way under. His mother came running, I don’t know how she knew it was her child that took an unexpected bath, I think it’s just a mom thing. But she took him in her arms checking each limb and making sure he was breathing all right. She thanked us as I was helping Jack out of the pool with some ribbing comment of how he just couldn’t stand that kid getting his rubber ducky.
What was interesting as Jack and I talked while he was drying off was there were a lot of people there who had no idea what happened. So involved in their interactions they were oblivious to what just happened. There were some people who noticed Jack jumping in, me spilling my drink, the mom rushing by and just ignored the anomalies, giving them a glance and turning back to whatever they were doing. A few people later came up to me and said they had noticed the toddler and him being dangerously close to the pool, almost falling in once, then saw him fall in, and Jack jumping to the rescue. As they shared I wondered, as I’m guessing you are, why they did not respond in some way; jump in like Jack, yell out for someone to help, or at least come over and see if they could do something?
Though I responded in this particular instance there are plenty of times I am like the spectators and just watch or even ignore opportunities to help or contribute. I know I can’t help or get involved in everything, but those that I can, I want to respond rather than ignore. Especially when I know the Lord is obviously prompting me. A key is to be prepared. Jack was prepared because his career trains him to be a ‘first responder.’ But what about in life and to be ready to be used of God?
The Bible encourages up to be prepared like ants!?!
Proverbs 6:6-9 6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?
That’s a bit of a slap of reality, but the point is we should make ourselves ready
Matthew 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Ready in the respect to living life Jesus’ way, in line with the Bible, and following God’s promptings. It means we are ready to share faith..
1 Peter 3:15-16 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
It means we are ready to love our neighbor like the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37 and when God brings a need in front us we can respond out of love and not ignore like the religious leaders did in this Samaritan rescue story.
It’s too easy to ignore, to be too wrapped up in our party that we don’t notice, don’t see how we might respond, don’t get involved. I wonder how our different our world would be if more people responded to that person in need, that isolated coworker, that struggling single mom, that lonely elderly widow, that pressured executive, that over worked teacher, that stressed student, that distraught parent with a wayward child, that financially drowning couple…and oh my we could continue this list. Sure we can’t help everyone, but we can respond to someone. Who is God calling you to help, maybe even rescue?
Seeking to be ready to respond with you,