The beach was rather refreshing. One day a small girl, with the help of her mother, diligently worked on a sand castle. A young couple entered the water together, laughing and enjoying life. A group of boys played volleyball. A few surfers ventured out to catch a wave or two. Several people relished in the warmth of the sun and simply relaxed. The waters announced its grandeur with each consistent roar. You could almost hear the waves, in a near boastful tone calling out with authority, “You are here to see me. I am the reason you have come.”
What is it about the beach that draws people? Is it the cool breeze from the ocean? Is it the sound of the waves rushing against the shore? Perhaps it is simply the ability to sit and rest without great expectation. I sat and reflected this past week with my feet buried deep into the warmth of the sand. How can man look at the vastness of the ocean and not be drawn to our Creator? The Psalms declare, “The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: The Lord of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters,” Psalm 29:3. If we will open our eyes, we can see the Lord’s hand in all of creation. If we will listen, we can hear the Lord speaking through his creation. If we will allow it, we can be drawn closer to the Lord through His creation.
One particular morning the waves were exceptionally boisterous and the undercurrent rather strong. The children and I enjoyed the waves but stayed close to the shore. Dana kept a watchful eye at the edge of the water. He never moved. After a few minutes we would look toward the beach and notice that we have drifted far in one direction. It took an intentional effort on our part to stay in the area in front of my husband. Every now and then Aaron, watching out for his little sister and brother, would remind them to come closer. If not careful, the waves would easily carry us miles away.
As we were moved about by the strength of the water, wind, and waves I could not help but think about the passage in Ephesians about being, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Oh, how easy it is to be tossed about in our spiritual life. It takes a strong anchor of faith to not waver these days. (“For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed,” James 1:6.) Not only do we need a strong faith in God and His Word, but we need desperately need the church. The church? You might ask; What does that have to do with this passage in Ephesians about being “tossed to and fro”? Let’s look at it in context.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Eph 4:11-14)
Notice the gifts Christ gave for the provision and edification of His church. Are you blessed to be a part of a local, Bible teaching, New Testament church? It is easy to see the necessity of the church in correlation to the perfecting of the saints, work of the ministry, and edifying of the body of Christ –without it we can easily be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” Just as the children and I needed to look to the spot my husband stood to keep us from drifting too far, so do we need to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. And just as we depended upon each other while we were in the waters for safety, God’s children in like manner needs the local church. “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching,” Hebrews 10:23-25.