Summary: A Confirmation sermon about diving in to discipleship.
TOPIC: ?Diving In?
The view from the bottom of the ladder was bad enough. As I stared up to the top, the ladder seemed to stretch a mile into the air ? up and up and up. The platform for the high dive looked a mile away. Then again, I was only 10, and small for my age. My friends were there talking about how cool it was to jump off the high board. I wasn?t so sure. I mean, that platform was a mile up in the air. But, my friends were there, and they were urging me on ? you know, doing chicken sqawks and such. Great bunch of friends! So, I started to climb the ladder. I would be the first in the group to go the distance. Someone, I don?t remember who, told me not to look down ? to look straight ahead as I climbed. Guess what I did? I looked down. I was terrified by what I saw, and I was only about half-way up! The view from the bottom of the ladder was bad enough. The view going up the ladder was worse!
And when I got to the top of the ladder, I realized that I had vastly overestimated my terror, both at the bottom and on the way up the ladder! I had thought, then, that I couldn?t be more terrified, but when I got to the top of the ladder, I found out what terror really was! The view from the top was nothing short of horrifying! I looked off in the distance, and it seemed like I was up as high as the rooftops of the tallest buildings I could see! I looked down at the pool, and it looked like a dot far below me! I was terrified! I grabbed hold of the rails on the platform, frozen. I looked out at the distance, I looked down at the pool, I looked down to where my buddies stood on the ground below the ladder, and I realized that I had to make a decision. What would it be? Should I risk almost certain death by jumping into the pool below? Or should I climb back down the ladder and risk the humiliation that I would surely receive from my buddies?
I climbed back down the ladder. My friends didn?t hassle me as much as I figured they would. None of them jumped either! But I felt like a chicken, a failure in my own eyes and the eyes of my friends. It took me till the end of the summer to get up the courage to try again. I?d been to the pool several times, but had stuck with the low board and avoided even getting close to the high board. It took me till the end of the summer to get up the courage to walk over to the high board and look up. I stood there and watched as people climbed up, and jumped or dove into the pool below. I watched as they surfaced ? arms and legs and necks intact ? and swam to the side. I watched as they climbed the ladder again and repeated the process. And I decided to just do it ? to take the plunge!
The ladder stretched up and up and up into the sky. I didn?t look down. I climbed and climbed and climbed until I reached the top, and I walked out on the platform with my eyes focused straight in front of me. I walked to the edge of the board. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the pool below me. It seemed so far away! I took a deep breath, let go of the rails, and jumped. My heart was beating fast. I was falling faster! My stomach felt like it had stayed on the board, far above me. It seemed like it took forever for my feet to hit the water. Then woosh, I was in and under. I kicked my feet and floated to the surface -- and I realized that I was alive ? and that my body was intact ? arms, legs, hands, feet, neck ? everything was where it should be. Even my swim suit had stayed in place! I had done it! I swam to the ladder on the side of the pool, hauled myself out, and headed back to the high dive ladder to do it again! And before the day was over, I was jumping off the high dive platform without even thinking about it!