We are a family that loves the beach. In the Carolinas you are either a beach person or a mountain person and you have to declare a preference. It could be a state law but don’t take my word for it. The B. Andrew and Kimberly H. Oliver family many years ago declared our allegiance. We are a beach crowd.
One of my favorite pastimes on the coast is playing on the beach. This vague recreational designation includes a number of activities.
I taught my kids from a very young age that swimming in a pool at the beach could possibly be considered a sin unless irritating sand situations required the use of one of these manmade bodies of water. Of course, among the daily events along the shoreline is wave riding, otherwise known as body surfing. Humility (a fruit of the spirit) prevents me from sharing an honest assessment of my skills in this pursuit, so I will simply say I was an above average rider of waves and was a mentor to three sons and others. I also enjoy beach golf, a game I learned from my friend, Wesley Smith, which involves rolling a softball from point A to a hole at point B. We enjoy the signature sport of our disc crazy congregation …. tossing the Frisbee and we have actually changed beaches over the past couple of years due to our inability to throw the plastic saucer without irritating big hairy guys in tiny speedos.
But my favorite activity is one I began as a child and continued many years thereafter as a youth, young adult and now as an official old guy. I like to begin by building a sand castle. It can be simple or elaborate. It just depends upon your mindset on that particular day. Then I design and build an elaborate system of trenches and sand mounds to protect and preserve my coastline construction. The objective in all of this engineering and architecture is to see how long I can keep the encroaching waves at bay. I have learned this lesson from my fifty five plus years of beach sand building. The waves always win!
I have a relatively new meditation and thinking time from three until five in the morning. It could be age. It could be medication. It could be the Parkinson’s. But I have had to accept the fact that I am going to be awake in the wee morning hours. The silver lining is that God is speaking and I don’t have anything better to do ….so I’m listening. Monday morning I was in the midst of a divine meeting with my maker when I started thinking about the beach and all the fun we’ve enjoyed there. My thoughts became a little more specific as I pondered those castles and the complex protection systems and a parable emerged. You know, Jesus told parables in scripture and I further believe he hasn’t stopped. He didn’t tell me to share it but I will:
We build our lives. They may be simple or complex. But they are certainly valued. I can say with all honesty, as difficult as it can be at times, “I love life.” I am sure you do as well. I also want to preserve and protect my existence for as long as possible. So, to ensure a lengthy and meaningful tenure I construct my share of defenses to achieve that goal.
We all want to make the most of this life. We may employ a strategy of safety and caution to insure our chances of living a long productive life. You could be very health conscious and because of your dietary choices and exercise routine you feel like you can fend off the evil ravages of a toxic world. Maybe you are taking vitamins or administering ointments and creams to alleviate the results of aging and its heartless task of robbing us of smooth skin, toned muscles, clear hearing and keen eyesight. We employ a number of defenses to keep the old castle intact ….. But the waves of time will win.
With this being said, let me offer a simple, hopefully God inspired point in this parable:
Take your meds
Chew or swallow your vitamins
Dress for success
Take a bath at least monthly!
Smear on those beauty products that melt belly fat and do away with wrinkles
Defend the earthly castle for as long as you can with the understanding that time will win.
We serve a God who has defeated the limitations of time and who has secured for us a life beyond this one through a relationship with Jesus ….GOD IN THE FLESH!
Earthly castles will fall but that which is done in the name of Christ and those who accept his wonderful gift of grace and forgiveness will endure.