Many of the waterfront houses on Dauphin Island, Bayou La Batre, and other places along shorelines, have their own boat docks. Fishing and recreational boats are then available for use just a few yards away. You cannot help but notice that the boats are on boatlifts that raise them well above the water level. The boats are not left for extended periods of time at rest in the water. Shallow waters are a prime location for small marine creatures called ‘barnacles‘. These creatures will attach themselves to the hulls of boats below the water line. They can soon cover the bottom of a boat. The buildup of these ‘biofoulers’ leads to increased drag of up to 60% when the boat moves through the water. They dramatically reduce the efficiency of the boat in both speed and fuel. The barnacles cement themselves to the hull of vessels with one of the strongest adhesives occurring in nature. It is a very labor-intensive and costly process to have them removed.
We can learn a life lesson from the barnacle problem. As believers, we are expected to be vigorously involved as witnesses and workers in the kingdom of God. We should not let ourselves lay at rest for long periods of time. The waters of this world are filled with ‘barnacles of the soul’. On more than one occasion in scripture, we are instructed not to grow weary in doing good. We need to stay actively involved in kingdom work. The ‘cares of this world’ attach themselves to us quickly during periods of inactivity. They create a drag on our spiritual lives and destroy the efficiency of our work for Christ. The writer of Hebrews offers this advice: “We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way (barnacles of the soul) and the sin that so easily holds us back” (Hebrews 12:1b, NCV).
When we are not actively engaged in building the kingdom, we must be aware of the dangers of just floating at rest in the waters of this world. As we are able, we need to be, physically as well as spiritually, at work for Christ. When we are not able to work physically, the power of prayer is open to us. We can also avail ourselves to our phones and write notes of encouragement and witness. There is work for every one of us to do. ‘Spiritual barnacles’ will quickly cement themselves to the souls of those who lay at rest. The bond is exceedingly difficult to break. They cost us dearly in lost productivity, time, and effectiveness.
I like these words of the old hymn, “Higher Ground”:
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I thank the Lord that like the boatlifts along the shoreline, Jesus can lift us out of troubled water. In love, He can elevate us above the ‘biofouled’ waters of a fallen world.
Lord, Lift Me Up
~ Brother Roy