A lifeguard has various duties but undoubtedly the most important is actually saving a person from drowning. Although they have other duties they should never get preoccupied with those duties and let people drown.
As a Christian we share some similarities with lifeguards. Unfortunately it is very easy for us believers to be too preoccupied with our own lives to even notice that there are those drowning right there in front of us. Even worse than being preoccupied with our own lives is when we are being that “hyper-vigilant” lifeguard that is constantly yelling at the kids to quit their running and horseplay, not noticing the person struggling to keep their head above water the whole time. You see, sometimes it is easy for church people to begin to start focusing on the things others are doing wrong and they appoint themselves morality monitor and become judgmental. While they are focused on that, people around them (both outside of and inside of the church) are struggling to keep their head above water that desperately need help.
Some of these are drowning in stress, financial problems, sickness, or loss of a loved one. Many are desperate, drowning in fear, anxiety, confusion, anger, depression, loneliness, hopelessness and the like. The most desperate ones are even entertaining thoughts of taking their own lives.
If it is true that there are those drowning before our very eyes, then why don’t we see it? A large part of it is the preoccupation I already mentioned, but there are other reasons. One reason is that nobody wants to admit that they are drowning. After all, that would be showing weakness and admitting we really can’t handle what life throws at us sometimes. And we certainly let can’t let anyone know we aren’t perfect, right?!! People will go to great lengths to project an image of having it al together.
So do we even have a chance of spotting and helping those drowning around us? Absolutely! The first thing is to be observant; pay attention to those around you. Be purposeful about reaching out to greet people and check on them. Talk less and listen more. Really listen to what they are saying. Ask them questions and pay attention to their answers. In addition, pray for discernment from the Holy Spirit. Doing these things will open your eyes to the hurts and problems of those around you.
Now that you see who is drowning and what they are drowning in, take the time out of your busy schedule to give them a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or whatever their need may be. You have no idea how big of an impact you may have on a person. It helps them and you get blessed as well. And who knows…maybe one day you will be the one drowning and God may just send someone to save you!