A few weeks back I felt God gave me a picture for Gateway Church out of what is currently happening at our nearest beach.
We are fortunate to live on a seven mile long bay of golden sand and fantastic views – the Isle of Wight on the East and the Isle of Purbeck to the West – and Branksome Chine beach is where my family often heads in our free moments. It’s a beautiful spot.
Over the winter though, Branksome Chine has been turned into a building site. In order to prevent all that golden sand being washed away, rock piers are being built out into the sea, that will stabilize the beach and keep it where it is meant to be.
At the moment, far from looking beautiful the beach looks a mess. There are diggers and heavy plant all over the place. Great holes have been dug and filled with concrete. There are piles of massive rocks lying around.
The picture I had was that Gateway is in some ways like Branksome Chine. The heavy plant has been going to work, and things are no longer looking like they used to. All that some people can see is a mess! But there is a plan. Just as the engineers and planners know what they are trying to achieve at the beach, God knows what he is looking to achieve at Gateway. Once the work is done the beach will look good again. It will also be preserved for the future – if it had been left as it was it would have continued to look good but it would slowly have been washed away. Also, as part of the picture I felt God speaking to me of the new life that the rock piers would support. They will supply a habitat for plants and animals that didn’t used to have a home at Branksome Chine. Diversity will increase, and the beach will be made richer for it.
Yesterday Grace and I were down at the beach and I was amazed to see that the rock piers (which have only been in place a few weeks) are already being colonized by algae and weed. New life is already forming.
On Sunday I preached about vision for giving. In this time of economic uncertainty the temptation is to sit back and do nothing – to say “It looks alright to me” and to enjoy the view while all the time the ground is being washed from under us. Getting our giving right is like building a rock pier at the beach. Its going to take some mess and disruption, but its necessary for the future and for new life.
I’m looking forward to the summer, when the diggers have gone, and I can sit on the end of a pier, looking for fish.
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