I’ve been surfing for close to 40 years. I can honestly say that there hasn’t been a season of my life (through the best and worst of times) that surfing did not provide an anchoring experience of joy and fulfillment. And I treasure it immensely.
But, is NOT what my life revolves around. I’ve met guys throughout the years whose lives DID revolve around surfing… they are called ‘surf bums’. You know the type. They are caricatured on tv and in the movies as stoned, party-hungry migrants living on the margins of society always searching for the ‘ultimate wave’, and the ‘endless summer’. No job, no family, no permanent home, no responsibilities… just surf, surf, surf. Surfing is not the only activity that generates this type of lifestyle. There are ‘ski bums’, ‘golf bums’, ‘sailing bums’, ‘travel bums’… all sorts of ‘bums’. Just fill in this line here __________ with an activity or lifestyle that people can become obsessed with and put bum after it. You get the idea.
Jesus calls Christians to be ‘love bums’. We should be so obsessed with the love God has for us, the love we share with each other, and the love we are called to shower upon the world, that our whole lives and lifestyles should be defined by it. John makes this point in 1 John 4, and goes even further, he actually identifies God as LOVE. Literally, the living God is the living incarnation of love in Jesus:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12)
Chances are when you hear ‘surf bum’ or ‘ski bum’, you know exactly the type of person being referred to. You probably have an image in your mind as to how they think, talk, act, and live. Our challenge is to give the world a powerful image of a ‘love bum’, a follower of Christ, whose audacious love is so consuming it constitutes a recognizable lifestyle impacting the world for good and for God!