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The Weekly Word: What’s below the waterline?

By Tim Purcell, Superintendent of the Iowa/Minnesota District of The Wesleyan Church

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

 –1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)

We live in a culture where image is valued over character. If you don’t believe that’s true, just take a thoughtful inventory of the entertainers, politicians, athletes and business moguls who have become our cultural icons.

In the words of Vance Havner, “We have never had so many high-priced clothes hung on so many low-priced people.”

The Weekly Word: What’s below the waterline?
Tim Purcell
Superintendent of the Iowa/Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church

We all face the temptation to pay more attention to outer image than inner character. The stuff that shows gets our attention and, too often, we neglect our inner selves — that part of us that isn’t immediately visible.

In his book, “The Life God Blesses,” Gordan McDonald tells a parable involving two men who each decided to build a sailboat.

The first man built a boat with all of the bells and whistles — colorful sails, a teakwood deck and brass railings. His boat was a sight to behold. But, much to the chagrin of the old sailors who were watching him build, he neglected the keel and paid little attention to things like weight and ballast — the parts of the boat that were below the waterline.

He christened his beautiful boat, the Personna, and set out on its maiden voyage. A few miles from shore a sudden storm came out of nowhere, engulfed the Personna, and the boat and its foolish builder were never seen again.

The second builder went about things differently. His boat wasn’t nearly as beautiful to behold, but he paid special attention to the keel, the hull and he made sure that he had the right amount of ballast.

In other words, he didn’t neglect the parts of the boat that would be below the waterline.

He christened his boat the Christos and set sail on its maiden voyage. He also was set upon by a sudden storm just a few miles from shore, but unlike the Personna, the Christos had adequate weight below the waterline, so she was able to face the worst that the storm had to offer.

Not only did the Christos and her builder survive the storm, they were able to rescue others who hadn’t built so well.

That’s a powerful life parable. It’s the “below the waterline” like honesty, integrity and promise-keeping that really matter. It’s those things that will ultimately make you a success in the areas of life that count.

John Wesley, founder of The Methodist Church, used to ask this simple, but profound, question: “How is it with your soul?”

Good question. Are you taking care of the stuff below the waterline? How is it with your soul?


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