Those were my thoughts only a day after I turned off the filter to our above-ground pool. It was time to close it down and box it up for another winter, so I flipped the filter switch one afternoon, knowing I’d come back the next day and begin the draining process. After all, I thought, why not go ahead and save a little by not having to run the pump?
But it doesn’t take long for stagnation to set in. Not long at all. For my pool, about 1 day. That’s exactly what I surprisingly discovered the next afternoon when I went to unplug the drain: stagnant, green, ugly, smelly water! Wow!
The windows were open, and Julie, who was in the kitchen, heard me exclaim my surprise. Leaning forward over the sink towards the screen, she asks what’s wrong, perhaps expecting a reply centered around something scientific. Physical. Chemical. You know, a reply about the nasty H20 in the pool.
But this is when, for some odd reason, my mind finds the nearest phone booth and I, almost reactively, change into some weird dude who finds a sermon in every situation. The mild-mannered pastor disappears, and who emerges? Yep, Devotional Man. (No, he’s not faster than a speeding bullet or stronger than a locomotive; but he can be as irritating as a pesky fly.)
You know it’s Devotional Man by his response to what’s going on at the moment. And this time was no different. My response to Julie as I turned to come back in? Well, it went something like this —
“It’s crazy how quickly we can stagnate when there’s nothing flowing in or flowing out. (She knew instinctively at this point that her husband had gone missing and DevoMan had taken over.) I mean, have you seen the pool? In just 1 day! Honey, we can’t afford to live even a day without the Holy Spirit’s power, and we’ve got to cut selfishness off at the earliest sighting. Imagine how ugly and smelly we’d be if we stop the flow of God’s Spirit coming in and going out? No wonder Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as a rivers of living waters, you know? (Breathe DevoMan, breathe…that’s what she’s thinking.) Oh, I don’t wanna get plugged up, do you? I want to stay plugged in…connected…moving and serving…receiving from God and giving to others. You there?”
By this time I had reached the back door on the patio, and was about to step inside when I looked up. Yep, she was there. Smiling. Actually, grinning. “C’mon in, Devotional Man,” she said invitingly.
We both had a good chuckle, and as we turned to peer out the window and what I – or DevoMan – had described, there was this sobering realization raining down on us: What was once refreshing was now repugnant, all because there was nothing coming in and nothing going out.
“Lord, help me submit to you and serve you. Fill me with your Spirit so that I can fulfill your commands. Teach me how to stay close to you so that I can reach out to others. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, amen.”