Perhaps the most miserable place on earth is Shallowland. This is a place into which most of us slip in and out. Sometimes several times a day. Others live there permanently, docking their storm-worn boats just outside the majestic Courts of the Almighty where amazing blessing flow.
For the folks living in Shallowland, they are content to merely see or guess about the wonders which remain freely available inside the gates of God’s courts. Shallowland is as dismal as the name implies. Vacant and hallow, morbid, desolate. Yet, the fear of giving up the familiar holds the resident boat people of Shallowland captive.
Almost no one who lives in Shallowland actively engages in horrific acts of sin. They satisfy themselves by merely existing in their world of prideful contentment.
Please understand the residents of Shallowland are Christians. They are simply not deeply committed to their Savior. Sunday morning church is the best they can muster. And that may be interrupted by weeks,months or years of “not feeling well” or greater commitments.
When the subject comes up, Sarah tells everyone that she is a member of First Church of Shallowland. However, she has not attended in more than ten years. Sarah would be surprised that everyone she once knew there has also disappeared. She doesn’t expect Pastor Whatshisname to know her; but she would be shocked that First Church took her off the roll five years ago because of inactivity.
While most of the members of The Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community could not be called “Saints of God.” They desire and aim for that status. Like green apples, they cling hard to the Source of Life because they want to grow in Christ. Few of them desire to live in Shallowland.
I’ve learned from them that regarding growth in Christ IQ is not as important as WantTo. While Paul emphasizes that faith cannot be bought with the price our good works, the book of James reminds us that living for Christ is hard work. Prayer, study and commitment do not come without determined effort.
But the rewards of living in the Courts of the Almighty are worth every bit of strength we muster. The Special Gathering members are a stark reminder of the merits of pursuing Christ. As I look at the joy on Jack’s face and catch a glimpse of Shelley’s heart, I become more and more convinced that the Courts of the Almighty is where I want to be.