Mallards in the Swimming Pool

Last Tuesday, Drew and I went to vote at our community’s clubhouse.  There’s a swimming pool in the front and they have been hard at work getting it ready to open for the summer season. The deck chairs have been washed and sit in straight rows like a frame around the pool.  The water is sparkling.

            Next Monday is Memorial Day, but it’s been really cool here. Barely 60 degrees in the day and in the 40’s at night.  So, I can’t imagine many people wanting to do a cannonball into the deep end.  Just thinking about it can give you a shiver.

            However, when we passed by the pool, there were two very happy occupants of the pool.   A mallard couple had flown over from the creek, landed  right in the middle of the pool,  and was happily paddling about.  They swam over to the side, hopped out and shook off their tail feathers-and then hopped right back in.  The green head of the male glistened with fresh droplets every time he ducked his head under the water. It was like that pool had been prepared just for them to have a great time.

            Of course, next Monday (if it warms up!), the pool will be full of people. Beach balls will be flying, kids will be diving, water will be splashing and radios will be blaring.  And the mallards will be back enjoying the quiet gurgle of the water in the creek. 

            But here’s the interesting thing: the mallards grabbed the opportunity when it was presented.  Their shot at the pool came in a very brief window-and they grabbed it.  No hesitation. They spied the sparkling blue water and immediately went into a landing pattern.

            A couple of years ago, Malcom Gladwell wrote a book called Blink, in which he asserted that some of our best decisions may come on the spur of the moment, rather than after a lot of deliberation.  Some decisions, because of the seriousness of the issues involved, do require deliberation.  But sometimes, we need to apply the mallard principle-make a decision and land already!

            For instance, what would happen if we were quicker to bring Jesus into a conversation with secular people when the opportunity presented itself?  What if we more readily spoke words of encouragement?  What if we noticed the least and the left-out — immediately found a way to treat them with dignity?  What if we saw the poor and opened our wallet to meet a need with what we had right then? What if we followed that tiny prompting to stop and play with the kids, or have an ice-cream cone with a spouse-even when there were still a dozen things to do? What if we just pulled the car over and enjoyed drinking in a beautiful scene for about two minutes?

            I’m convinced that the Spirit whispers promptings to our souls all the time.  Those promptings may be God-designed opportunities for us to make a difference in another person’s life or just enjoy our own. Bible says, “Do not quench the Spirit…make the most of every opportunity…make the best use of the time.” (1 Thess.5:19, Eph. 5:16)

            In other words, when slight promptings come, follow the mallards:  make a decision and land already! 

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