The Ocean and the Pond
“One of the religion scholars came up.” Mark 12:28
At times when I have been attending various conferences or seminars, I become aware of men who are wise, or more accurately, those who think they are. Every person I encounter sees themselves as a scholar of something. Of course, most of my experience has been with those who see themselves so in some area of religion: language, liturgy, denominations. Then there are the alternative scholars who are experts at history, language, anthropology, the arts, ancient cultures to name just a few. The list is endless. Most scholars will tell you very quickly about their field of expertise.
However, every person’s knowledge or understanding of any subject is like a pond. It represents a body of knowledge. But the size, length, breadth and depth are limited by geography. From a given perspective along the edge, it may seem vast. However, a little probing or shifting of vision to the right or left quickly reveals the limitation of its ability to hold its contents by borders or bottom. Some indeed may seem to stretch out of sight, but this is only by virtue of our inability to walk along the perimeter the entire distance.
The ocean, by contrast, is like the cosmos compared to a spec. Standing beside the pond, no matter how large, once you’ve seen the ocean, you can never imagine the pond to be very large and never again would you think that the pond held a great volume of water. The scholars, who think of themselves as such, have not visited the ocean of God’s mind. They become so lost in the illusion of the expanse of their pond that tales of the ocean seem to them as idle chatter…..
Those who excitedly return from the ocean bring tales of vast beaches and endless horizons, with the understanding that no matter how far you walk or how high your vantage point, the limit of its reach, the deepest depths of it cannot be found. To the pond dwellers, those who have seen the ocean appear to be fools. Nothing will ever convince them of the errors of their thinking until they visit the ocean. You must leave the pond behind in order to do this. Evangelism is all about helping people to experience the ocean! Amen.