Have you ever played the sharks and minnows game in the pool? Recently, I was at swim practice for one of my kids, and at the end of the lesson, the coach had the kids line up on the pool deck. The coach then chose three kids to be sharks and sent them to the middle of the pool. The remaining children—a little more than 20—were designated as minnows, and instructed to stay lined up on the deck. As minnows, their job would be to jump in the pool and try to swim past the sharks in the middle of the pool. The thing that I noticed immediately was that the sharks had a hard time catching the minnows when there was a “school” of them that would dive deep together. But as time went on and the sharks increased their numbers, it became easier for them to get the remaining minnows one by one.
So, why am I talking about a game of tag in the pool? As a pastor, I immediately drew a connection between this game a larger theme within Christianity. I believe our faith is the same when we are swimming together in what often feels like a sea of sharks. But life seems easier for me when I’m surrounded by my school of friends, family, and coworkers that are ready to dive deep into relationships and help each other journey safely through life.
In Hebrews 10:24 NIV, the Bible says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love, and good deeds.” We're made to do life in a community; we're meant to find our “school” of fellow minnows and swim together. God intends for us to love one another, serve one another, and care for one another. I encourage you to find your community and support someone else but to also let someone else support you. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a well-known theologist, once said: "Every Christian community must realize that not only do the weak need the strong but also that the strong cannot exist without the weak. The elimination of the weak is the death of the fellowship.”
The beginning of the school year has always provided our family a chance to start over and start fresh. Find a way to be in community with others whether it's virtually or safely in person, and encourage those around you to find their group as well. I wish you a blessed start in this season of transition!