I watched his little face sink beneath the waves. He was paddling ankle deep in the ocean, but as the waves rolled in, the sand beneath his feet shifted and he lost his footing. Suddenly he was under. I rushed forward and pulled him up. As I held his soaking body against me I watched salt water drip from his eyelids. I braced myself for the tears - but they never came. His startled eyes locked onto the ocean and in his tiny two-year old voice he said “more water.” He was already courting his next wave.
Sunday afternoon our family picked a spot on the beach just a few feet from the tide’s edge. My boys were soon crawling in sloppy sand, digging tunnels and castles and prancing through the water. I love how children are so caught up in the world of play that not even a dangerous fall in the ocean can distract them. They didn’t notice the kids to their right or left, or the dogs sniffing their sand constructions and the adults striding over them. They had their own waves, their own joy and they never imagined for a moment that someone was stealing their ocean.
We’re all children in God’s kingdom. With access to an ocean of limitless resources and love, and a relationship with Jesus who knows us and our every need. But then why is it so hard to believe that we have enough? Why do we always feel like we’ll have to fight for that relationship, next promotion or piece of our destiny? Why do we feel so left behind and unnoticed?
If you’re like me it’s much easier to imagine God like a bucket rather than an ocean. And with every blessing doled out in the world, there’s less for me. It feels like there’s just not enough to go around.
Let’s be honest, we hope others will fail.
We don't want to admit it and certainly won't say it out loud, but deep in those hidden parts we think that one more success or accomplishment on their part means less in the bucket for us. How many times have we felt a pang of spite when a friend finds their soul-mate and we’re still only an invitation with no plus-one? Or the co-worker or ministry partner that experiences so much favor, it’s almost nauseating? It’s so hard to celebrate people and their blessing when we believe their gain is our loss.
Competition and comparison are the fruit of scarcity, ensnaring us in a lifetime of disappointment. All we see are ticking clocks, missed opportunities and our destiny slipping through our fingers.
But friends here’s the truth: There is no bucket.
No bucket. Only ocean.
Only an ocean of love, provision, opportunity, presence and abundance.
We have His attention. We don’t have to compete or check our progress against the world around us. We can sincerely celebrate the success of others, because it reveals nothing about what is available for us, only that God is good to all. The bucket is not being drained and your moment is not being stolen. In God’s kingdom you are not growing old or being left behind. There are endless waves of creativity and opportunity.
Where in your life have you been living from a bucket rather than an ocean?
May we all be just like my boys on the beach. Oblivious to the world around us and simply engrossed in our own moment with Jesus. Let’s TRULY celebrate the success and promotion of others, and wait with expectant and grateful hearts for all that God is doing in and through us.
There’s so much ocean to enjoy. Let’s paddle and dive in!