The young man's shoulders were slumped, his eyelids, head and upper body drooping lower and lower until with a jerk he brought them both up, just in time to prevent his whole body falling off the tall chair on which he was perched. 'Lifeguard', his red T-shirt proudly proclaimed in bold white lettering. A grand title.
Finally, I gave the young man a break. Clambering out of the water, dripping across the green and white tiled floor of the hotel pool complex, I spread my towel out on the banana chair and relaxed into it. My Bible and locker key were on the glass-topped table next to me and I briefly considered beginning my quiet time. No, too much effort. I closed my eyes.
Pat, pat, pat went the slippered feet of the lifeguard as he made his way to the utilities room. Was that a thermos of tea I heard being opened? Slurp. Yep.
Slosh, slosh, slosh. Opening my eyes, I saw a pot-bellied middle-aged man swishing through the small pool of feet disinfectant that separated the changing rooms and the pool complex. The lifeguard put down his thermos and resumed his post on the high chair.
Having by this stage more-or-less recovered from my efforts of slowly pulling myself through the water at such an unearthly hour of the morning, and hands now dry, I now picked up my Bible.
The older man was swimming freestyle, albeit very slowly, as I’d been swimming breaststroke some minutes earlier. Freestyle was a bit too much like hard work to me!
Turning my attention to the Bible, I read the pleading of a father to a dearly loved son. "Seek after wisdom, my boy. Don't ever let it go. Don't be led astray by things that are less than the best." "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life." (Prov. 4:13 NIV) Instruction, huh? I suppose this Bible reading would count?
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." (Prov. 4:23 NIV) The wise old man who penned these words went on to explain that his son should avoid corrupt talk, being side-tracked by temptation, doing anything except keeping his focus on God and walking in God’s ways.
The lifeguard was nodding off again. It was tempting to throw a bucket of cold water up to his exalted seat. That would get a reaction!
The older gentleman continued his steady splash, splash, splashing around the island in the hotel pool. He was focused. I, however, was not.
"Lord, help me to focus and to apply your word."
Focused. The older swimmer was not fit but he was determined. He’d been swimming a good 20 minutes by this stage. The lifeguard, on the other hand, was in serious danger of crashing to the ground in slumber. No wonder – what a deadly boring job.
Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit or perhaps it was a spark deep in my water-logged brain. Lifeguard … guard your life.
Suddenly, like a bucket of cold water thrown over me, the truth hit. As a Christian, I’m called to guard my heart. To be disciplined about what goes into my mind. To be focused in my lifestyle. Not to be distracted from the race of life in which I run. This is, in fact, life.
Stepping back into the lukewarm water of the hotel pool, I decided to challenge the lifeguard. Let him guard not one, but two lives. Arm over, breathe, other arm, kick, kick. 'Guard your heart. … Guard God’s instruction … it is life.' Praying as I splashed, I confessed having slipped into apathy yet again in life. I asked for God’s fresh anointing and strengthening.
Finally, with a friendly wave to the sleepy lifeguard, I dripped across the tiles, picked up my Bible and locker key, sloshed through the feet disinfectant pool and padded into the change room showers. Time to face the day.
That poor sleep-deprived young lifeguard was employed to guard the lives of those hotel guests who chose to swim in their pool. He didn't have much to challenge him. It was more a formality for the hotel's registration, no doubt.
Outside the pool, however, there is much more at stake.
Guard your heart. It is the wellspring of life.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.