Shallow Lives

“Go out where it is deeper.” Luke 5:4 NLT

“Effort does not always equate with effectiveness.”

My thoughts today are about “shallow lives.”

Your life can be so rich and satisfying, if you unwilling to settle for things superficial. A superficial life is quicker and simpler, but will never provide the fulfillment you are meant to enjoy. Too many people are content to live shallow lives, lives without much depth and therefore with little consequence. I think shallow lives result from superficial lifestyles. Too often we lightly regard matters we should greatly regard, and highly regard things we should lightly regard.

Many lives appear a mile wide but in reality are only a foot deep. Your number of Facebook friends is no indication of having meaningful friendships. Those take time and attention. You can Google an unimaginable volume of information and still lack knowledge and wisdom. That takes a learner’s heart and life experience. Traditional media offers quick sound bites about global complexities for people who would rather be told what they should think than to actually have to do so. That requires thoughtful reflection. In “Christian” America, there are many people who know a lot about God, but far fewer who really, personally know God in a way that shapes their lives and everyday lifestyles. Dabbling in spiritual matters can never satisfy your soul. There are important areas of life that are truly, “go big, or go home!”

Shallow lives result in surface relationships with spouses, children, friends, and God – producing fragile marriages, broken families, mere acquaintances, and lean, empty souls. People’s lives are not usually from lack of effort, but from lack of direction. Most people work hard at life, family, and relationships. The problem is this: effort does not always equate with effectiveness.

People really haven’t changed much since Jesus walked the roads and shores of ancient Palestine. Read Luke 5:1-11. When a crowd pressed to hear Jesus, he commandeered an empty boat from which to teach. Men nearby had fished all night, but had nothing to show for their efforts but weariness, a wasted day leaving them to beach their boats, clean their nets, and try it again the next day. Life can be like that, large investments of time and energy with little return. Jesus not only has the answer to meaningful life; Jesus is the Answer!

Jesus offers an invitation to people exactly like that – “weary and burdened.” See Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. Jesus’ advice to those tired fishermen might be the same for today’s dissatisfied lives, left at the end of the day or week with only tired bodies and empty hearts. “Now go out where it is deeper and let down your nets and you will catch many fish.” Luke 5:4 NLT.

If life is empty for you in the shallows, you are missing what God has available for you a little further out, and a little deeper. The result? Those seasoned fishermen were “awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with them.” Luke 5:9. God has bigger and better things for those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Matthew 5:6 NIV. A large, fulfilling life is not found by the overly cautious, perennial doubter, or those who try to live without some measure of personal investment, sacrifice, and risk.

Here’s how God is described, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33 NIV. The deeper things of God are reserved for the sincere, not superficial, inquirer. Read 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NLT. God’s best is never found by people content to live in the shallows. See Ezekiel 47:1-10 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you cultivate a depth of life, in everyday life and spiritual life.