Canoeing down the Blackwater River is touted as a great recreational experience on a hot summer day. The trip provides a myriad of experiences from' navigating over shallow river beds, attempting to slow the speed of the canoe when the water becomes deeper, stopping for a picnic on a sandbar, or dodging submerged trees in the river.
You load your canoe with picnic supplies and then two of you struggle to enter the canoe without tipping it over. The experienced paddler sits in the back to provide directions and the paddler in front provides power. The trip requires coordination and listening skills between the two paddlers.
I have taken the downriver trip several times, and invariably am designated as the "experienced" paddler. But, when a hazard is pointed out, my canoe seems to take on a life of its own and I aim directly for the log, to become stranded in the middle of the river.
The experience is very much like our Christian walk. The scripture says, "For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing." Roman 7: 19.
Occupants in the surrounding canoes watch the seemingly deliberate path of destruction and shake their heads as I struggle to remove myself from the submerged tree. I was warned in plenty of time to change direction.
Many times people comment about “hypocrites in the church”. But as Christians we don't intend to say one thing then do the opposite. I don't intend to end up suspended on the log in the river. My river trips are like my Christian walk. I go to church to worship God and learn of His grace. But, when I exit the door, every opportunity for destruction draws me toward it - like the vortex around the submerged log, and while others watch, I paddle to destruction. The destructions of gossip, laziness, procrastination, etc., are covered in James. The book of James provides practical wisdom for today's dilemmas. Written 2000 years ago, it speaks to our souls with such topics as Enduring Temptation, Taming the Tongue, and Growing through Trials.
Small Group Study on Sunday mornings at 9:25 a.m. is an opportunity to learn and grow in a “safe place”. Whether you are new in your Christian walk or not, we all have much to learn. Join our group as we study the book of James. You will be blessed and you will provide a blessing to others.
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Tammy Mendiola, Ruling Elder