Belly Flop Christianity
John Telgren

I stood at the edge watching the kids jump off the diving board. You could tell which of the kids were new to the diving board and which ones had been doing it awhile. One boy walked out to the edge of the board and just stood there. "C'mon Mike, just jump!" He stood there staring down at the deep water far below while a string of impatient boys were waiting in line behind him eager to take his place on the board. Soon, the whole string of boys was urging him to go ahead and jump. It was enough that he finally decided to step of the board. Since he was so uncomfortable with it, he couldn't decide whether to jump straight in or dive in. "POP!" Ouch! He landed on the water on his belly. That sounded painful. After a few more times off the board, Mike fully was fully committed to each jump of the diving board and didn't do any more belly flops.

That is how it is with our Christian walk. Jesus calls us to be fully and completely committed to life with him. The very first act we take in this commitment is submission to baptism. There is something about the symbolism of baptism that says, "I am fully committed to Christ one-hundred percent, so I am taking the plunge and giving it all completely to him as my Lord." It is truly a symbolic death and resurrection that inaugurates a new life with a new purpose. We have been crucified with Christ, never less we live, yet not ourselves, but Christ who lives in us; and the life we now live we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us (Gal 2:20).

When Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lost it, but whoever loses his life for my sake, he is the one who will save it" (Lk 9:23-24).

Because he was fully committed, Jesus didn't do a belly flop. He was completely committed and underwent his "baptism (Mk 10:38)" and drank the "cup" that was given to him, which involved a cross and a tomb. Among other things, this serves as an example for us to be completely sold-out and committed as he was. In following him, we take up our own cross and "dive in" to serving him and his mission wherever it may lead.

Jesus did not call us to do belly flops, but to completely commit to the leap of faith we take when we accept his Lordship and make his purposes our purposes. This may entail giving up our leisure time to serve someone, to sell a car, to change jobs, to travel overseas, or to go across town and help someone. What a blessing it is to have the privilege of diving into ministry to serve the one who gave it all up to gain us back to God!