OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #229 Plugging Leaks and Stopping Diversions
When we bought our house a few years ago we inherited two fish ponds. There is a lower pond in which we keep some goldfish, and a small upper pond with a fountain and waterfall. We pump the water from the lower pond to the upper pond, which then tumbles over the waterfall back to the bottom.
We were told that we would need to add water every week. No explanation was given, just that this was needed since the water level would go down. Sure enough, after a week or two the water was noticeably lower than before. After topping it up several times I checked for leaks in the plumbing and repaired several leaks which seemed to solve the problem.
A few weeks ago, however, I began to notice that we were losing water again. After checking the plumbing, I was at a loss to explain it until I noticed a wet spot beside the upper pond. I hadn’t noticed it before because splashing from the fountain in the bird bath wets the rocks anyway, but as I looked more closely I could see water trickling out in a low spot. We were losing water because it was being diverted out of the pond.
Diversion is the thought today as we continue to read Titus. From Titus 1:10-16, Paul gives us an unflattering snapshot of the group which was creating problems for the churches on Crete. “Rebellious people” who were “talkers and deceivers” taught from dishonest motives. Even their own poets agreed that they were liars, evil, and lazy. They loved controversy and rejected the truth. Far from being pure, their consciences were corrupted. All the while, they claimed to know God, but Paul reminded Titus that their actions spoke louder than their words. They were “detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good.”*
The situation was similar to the problem in our ponds. The upper one was always full, while the bottom one suffered. We continually pump water into the upper pond, which will only pour over the waterfall when it reaches the top of the dam. Consequently, the water level is always high in the upper pond, even if the water is diverted by a low spot. The lower pond where the fish are is the one which feels the effect of the water loss because it only receives back what is left over from the top.
The “rebellious” people Paul wrote about were this way, constantly diverting spiritual resources. Money, time, attention, and energy was selfishly spent and they didn’t care about how this might affect anyone else. Their pond was always full and they were oblivious to the fact that whole households were being ruined by their actions and teaching.
Not all was lost however. By appointing leaders of the highest moral and godly character (as we read last week) they could be taught to reject this way of life. The diversions would be stopped and the people would grow into godliness and good works because their leaders would set the good example.
When we act selfishly, we fill our own pond while others further down the stream are wanting. We teach by our example that if you want something you have to divert from other people to get it. Soon everyone is doing the same thing, just looking out for themselves. Paul reminds us that this is not the way of Jesus. “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.” (1:16) May this never be said of us as we aim for godliness, purity, unselfishness.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published August 4, 2010. *Scripture taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com