I remember it as a very cold and windy winter's afternoon in Melbourne. The phone rings and it's Bill on the line from Torquay.
"Hey, Rabbit, do you want to come down for a surf this arvo?" he says in his uniquely slow voice.
My afternoon wasn't crowded. Next year's budget was only just beginning to tickle at the back of my mind. And fatherhood hadn't yet brought enough little boy joy into my life to take up all of my free time.
I ummed and ahhed. It was cold--real cold. It was also a long drive and--did I see some rain?
To be honest, going to Torquay wasn't my preferred activity for the afternoon. But Bill has subtle persuasive powers, and before I knew it I was somewhat reluctantly driving over the Westgate Bridge heading for Geelong and Torquay.
When we arrived at the beach the wind was offshore and the waves looked good. We put on our thickest wetsuits and went out into the freezing water. We surfed some great waves for a little over an hour and then retreated to the shore before hypothermia threatened.
Later, as I looked out at the ocean from the comparative warmth of the car park, I found myself thinking that I would have driven 1000 kilometres to surf those waves if I'd had to. Then my grey matter reminded me that only a few hours before I wasn't keen to make the much shorter drive from Melbourne.
What had changed? Simply put, I had re-experienced the joys I've long found in surfing. Earlier lethargy made it sound too hard and too cold to bother. But as soon as I tasted the waves again, I was as enthusiastic as ever. It frightens me that it's so easy to become lethargic even about the things we enjoy and cherish. And that reminds me of how important it is to keep in contact with our God and our church. It takes only a few days of missed communication with God or a couple of missed Sabbaths before our faith can lose its vibrancy. And our faith is way too important for that.
So how do we keep it in good condition? Simple. Exercise it often and experience the joy daily. The effects will not only bless you, but all those around you, too.
Try it! I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! . . . I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference. Revelation 3:15, 19. Paul Rubessa was the treasurer of the Victorian Conference when he wrote this. He is now the administrative accountant for the ACAST Superannuation Fund, and is based at the South Pacific Division office in Wahroonga, New South Wales.