“Catch a wave!” I’ve seen this slogan on television commercials, and on signs in beachfront stores and surf shops. It appears on t-shirts, caps, posters and swimwear.
Last year, while on a brief visit to Hawaii, this cliche took on a whole new meaning. My wife and I drove to Oahu’s north shore, famous for its huge waves.
Among surfers, the beach parks on the north shore are among the most popular beaches in the world. We planned to have lunch in Haliewa Town in a cafe with an ocean view, just a short distance from the renowned Bonsai Pipeline.
On my previous visits to this area, I had marveled at the massive 20-25-foot waves and the large number of surfers. However, on this particular visit we were amazed to find that the surf was only about 3-5 feet high and the only surfers in the water were older children and young teenagers who were just learning to surf or who were riding “boogie boards.” It seemed they could hardly catch enough of a wave to mount their board.
We were disappointed. Seeing the normally high surf and observing the skilled surfers are awesome experiences.
What had happened to the large surf?
I learned from a local resident that the surf is “up” only a small percentage of the time. When the waves begin to increase, the “surf’s up!” message travels quickly up and down the beach. When the surf’s up, surfers immediately drop what they are doing and head to the beach to “catch a wave.”
That’s not a lot different than the wave of the Spirit.
Sometimes a spiritual wave infiltrates a church presenting new opportunities for inspiration and involvement. On other occasions a spiritual wave surges into our lives presenting unique opportunities for service and growth.
Those opportunities are like the surf. The wind of the Spirit blows. The waves of enthusiasm rise and a new opportunity takes hold for a short season. But if you don’t drop less important things and “catch a wave,” you might miss that opportunity.
In Ephesians 5:16, the Apostle Paul encourages us to “make the most of every opportunity.” Is the wind of the Spirit blowing new opportunities into your life, church or community?
Surf’s up! Don’t procrastinate! “Catch a wave!”
Barry Howard is senior minister of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.
Pastor at the Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta. He also serves as a leadership coach and columnist for the Center for Healthy Churches. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Brookhaven, Georgia.