Hebrews 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers.
I grew up in a small town right on Lake Michigan across from Chicago. Going to the beach was a favorite pastime in the summer. There was a particular beach that we loved to go to. It had sand dunes to climb on and big sandbars in the water that were wonderful to play on. Typically, when we entered the water it would get a little deep but as you kept going out the water became shallow. The water there was less than knee deep. When there were waves, the sandbar was a great place to body surf. Out beyond the sandbar it got much deeper going way over our heads.
Today, the word shallow often refers to something that is superficial or not really desirable. It is not a word typically used in a positive way. I would like to change our reference point with the word shallow because it is a very helpful and descriptive word that can shed some important light in our lives. Think of the word shallow as it applies to the water level on a sandbar or in a swimming pool. It simply means the water isn’t very deep. Amplifying a bit further, the water is real, just not very deep.
Now think about the friendships and relationships we have. Doesn’t the word shallow constructively describe many of them? They are real – just not very deep. Many of these people would be there for us in a time of need, but there just isn’t much time spent together. Our lives are just so busy and we are often spread too thin for it to happen.
Depth in relationship takes effort – it takes learning to love one another. It involves intentionality because such relationships typically don’t happen by accident. Seeing needs and helping out; caring for one another; being in small groups together; spending time together are all ways that we can develop depth in our relationships. Another way is sharing meals together and simply making time for each other.
We can’t do this with everyone, but there are those in our lives that God wants the relationships to deepen. It involves reordering our priorities and pursuing activities that make it happen – and God will guide us. Developing true community in our churches means that we must pursue the opportunities we have to develop deep, strong relationships. They are a missing reality in so many lives today and God wants that to change.