The teens and I just got back from rafting. Going down the river through all of the rapids and obstacles was incredibly fun. Strangely though, rafting has a bunch of parallels to Christianity and the church. Let’s examine several of these:
1. Everyone must put on a life vest. No one was going rafting without one on. In a similar way, everyone needs to put on Christ to be in the church and be saved. No one can be a part of the church or get to heaven without putting on Christ in baptism (Acts 2:38-41, 27).
2. It’s very hard to safely maneuver the river by yourself. The key to getting down the river was teamwork. If we didn’t paddle together then we would just zigzag, splash water, and turn the boat sideways. Likewise, the church must work together. It is very difficult to battle all of the sins of this world without the help and support from the church. We need to help each other and work together (Psalm 133; Romans 15:5-6; etc).
3. Every boat needs a rafting guide. These are experienced experts who know how to safely navigate down the river. The church also needs spiritual people to help guide us through this life. Thankfully we have elders, deacons, and ministers to help us do just this. However, it won’t do us any good if we don’t listen to their advice.
4. Follow the rules and you will be safe. Disobeying the rules is how people come out of the boats, get hurt, or end up hurting others. We must also follow God’s rules in the Bible. Not only will obedience keep us in the church, but it will keep everyone safe from sin (John 14:15).
5. Watch out for obstacles. Today we maneuvered around rocks, through bridges, around curves, and over small waterfalls. A couple times we even had to duck and squeeze under bridges because of the high water level. In the church, we must keep a constant eye out for obstacles and problems that will hinder the church from moving forward (Proverbs 4:11ff; James 3:2; etc).
Rafting was very enjoyable, but what made it worthwhile was that everyone followed the rules and was safe. We need to keep in mind that God gave us the church as a support group, not as a place where we can come and nit pick everything we don’t like and express everything we disagree with (1 Corinthians 1:10). Why would we want to throw each other out of the boat into the rapids of life (John 13:35)? We are here to help get each other to heaven. Let’s help each other navigate through the turbulent waters of this life. May we always put ourselves aside for the glory of God and greater good of the church.