Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

<< HomeWord, with Jim Burns

HomeWord - August 10, 2012

  Observation or Participation?

This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
—John 10:10

Far off the beaten path in a rural Illinois town lays the entrance to Illinois Caverns, a wild cave system. The 50 to 75 steps that lead you into the mouth of the cave betray the true wildness of the cave. This isn’t the type of cave you can ride through on a tram. No, this is the dark, damp, get down on your knees and get dirty kind of cave that requires special footgear, backpacks, headlamps, and a little courage.

At the beginning of the journey, most spelunkers (a fancy name for those who explore caves) try to avoid getting wet. After all, the water is cold and the temperature in the cave is only in the low 60’s. The walls are wet and the ground is slippery. As the water rises, most participants get used to the idea that it’s going to be wet. When my youth group took an adventure through the caves, we didn’t anticipate that the water would eventually reach our waists and, at times, we would have to crawl on our hands and knees maneuvering between stalagmites (rock formations that grow up) and stalactites (rock formations that hold tight to the ceiling).

In a few places, park rangers had brought in ladders for those who didn’t want to crawl, squeeze or slither through the tighter spots. When it came my turn to either take the ladder or crawl, I was forced to make a choice. Observe or participate? In the heat of the moment, I chose the latter. There I was crawling on my hands and knees with the cave ceiling literally two inches above my head and water up to my chin! It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life and one that I would have missed by choosing to take the easy way up the ladder.

In the book Seizing Your Divine Moment, author Erwin McManus says, “I am convinced the great tragedy is not the sins we commit, but the life we fail to live.” Too often, many Christians sit on the sidelines observing others living the life of true faith. James 1:22 adds, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Today, the question is: Are you living your life to the full or watching life go by? The cave was dark, wet, and a little scary, but the experience was amazing. A life well-lived is the same.


1. What keeps you from living a full life?

2. Identify some changes you can begin to make today to experience each day to its fullest potential.


 James 1:22-25

Sign up here for Parenting Resources and other HomeWord publications.

More HomeWord, with Jim Burns Articles