A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]T[/mk_dropcaps]his phrase made famous when used by JFK in a speech in 1963 is a pointant illustration of teamwork.  When we focus on benefiting all those around us we ourselves are lifted up in the process.  Partnering with others, developing a culture of genuine teamwork and unity, lifts everyone to a new level as the whole advances. This truth has been lost in the depths of the entitlement mentality of this generation.  No wonder the “selfie” is now a staple of society. We have entered into a time that promotes the adage that we should do whatever makes us happy as long as it does not hurt anyone else.  Anything beyond that is criticized as intrusive.  Seriously?!

I ask for grace as I vent on the entitlement for a moment.  It is something that fires me up, which takes a lot as I am a very laid back individual. My heart is not to criticize, rather bring awareness so we can start to form resolution. I care too much for people to not be willing to ruffle a few feathers and write words that may feel like sandpaper.  Entitlement is something I have had to work out in my character so there is no condemnation in this.

Here we go: We do not live in a bubble.  It is selfish to believe that our actions have no influence on those around us.  Quite the contrary.  We are built to adapt, we become like those we hang around the most.  Look at kids as they grow up. They pick up things you say so quickly. Parents of small kids understand how critical it is.  But as adults does this ability to be influenced go away?  No it does not.  To a degree we establish a foundation of beliefs, behaviors and actions but none of them are set in stone.  We do continue to grow, change and evolve as we get older.  This change is based off of what we surround ourselves with:  People, music, books, tv etc..

When we abdicate responsibility to look out for each other and care for each other that is when crisis can set in.  In scripture the question is posed by Cain “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). Um yeah you are! Not that we are to become people pleasers or micro managers but we are to be there to serve.  We are to have an awareness of need and step in to fill it when we can. In your own bubble the needs of others are blurry.  You cannot see beyond your invisible barrier into the life and needs of others. How unsatisfying and boring is that?!Not to mention dangerous…

When we do not have an awareness of the lives of those around us evil is given more room to flourish.  It is like an untended yard.  You do not have to do anything for weeds to grow, they just do.  To have great plants thrive, care and labor is required.  Same goes for relationships and those God has entrusted us to have.  How do you know whose life to care for?  Who has he brought into your life that you are around consistently?  This includes family, friends, coworkers, fellow members at church.  If God brings them into your life or calls your attention to them most likely there is a reason for it.  Lean into His promptings and respond.

You will find not only does this bring significance to your day to day on a deeper level, but it also is one of the best ways to break free from depression, loneliness, shyness, or insecurity.  Look for those who are in need of a friend and in the process your needs and desires will be met. You may be asking, How I know it will help?  Well, I was there. Depression and anxiety have been in my family for a few generations.  I suffered with depression at two different seasons of my life.  One that was paired with a deep depression and load of feeling the need to perform.  The other from not knowing how to cope with my father’s deteriorating health and paralysis coupled with my Mom’s own depression. All things that by the grace of God have been not only brought to light but healed and restored.  Even if now how I thought they would be.

How I got out from underneath the unavoidable desire to withdraw and isolate came when I started to help the needs of those around me.  What better place than in the security and environment of the church? There is no lack of need, but only lack of those who are willing to respond. It starts with being intentional, in time it becomes automatic.

Like a boat does not have to work to rise with the tide, neither do we have to work to continue in the flow of serving if we are placed in the water.  Conveniently enough in scripture the presence of the Holy Spirit is often referred to as living water.  Take that picture to represent what it means to partner with those who God places besides you.  All we have to do is get in the flow of His living water and we will rise together as we serve each other first.This is a plea to go back to what God called us to: Loving Him and loving people.  Loving our self (or being selfish) combined with entitlement, bitterness, and judgment is part of our sinful natural bent. But in the flow of God's presence and grace our flesh takes a back seat to His power in our lives.