swimming to island

The Pastor’s Quill


By Pastor Tim Hodge
Nov 19, 2017

Last week, I utilized some quotes from Dr. John Maxwell on LEADERSHIP. The first book I read of Maxwell was The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership. That book greatly enhanced my life and my leadership thoughts.

Recently, I came up with a LAW of leadership. I named it THE LAW OF TREADING WATER.

You’ll have to use your imagination with me for a moment. Imagine this: an experienced sailor is lost at sea. This sailor is familiar with the area where he is lost. By the sun and the stars, he knows his north, south, east, and west; so, he has his bearings. Suppose he is aware of an island just a few miles away due east. What does he do?

This is a no-brainer, right? He begins to swim to the island! Somewhere in this swimming for miles he is going to have to TREAD WATER. Here is how THE LAW OF TREADING WATER can affect the swimmer AND how it affects an organization.

1.Swimming toward a GOAL.

Once the sailor understands his current location and WHERE he needs to go, he becomes excited. He’s not totally lost. He’s not going to die. There is hope. With renewed energy he begins to swim toward the island.

The island is the GOAL. Organizations (corporations, businesses,
companies, and churches) must have goals. These are the things we
want to accomplish. As with the sailor, we can start out with a great
zeal. However, what is truly important is not how good we start, but
how great we finish.


Somewhere in this process, there simply must be a time of treading water. The man must REST. Without rest, he could die. He could cramp up and drown. Rest is a necessity in reaching the goal. He can’t tread water for too long. A lack of progress could lead to complacency and complacency eventually leads to despair.

Here are two facts about humanity: (1) we need REST and (2) COMPLACENCY is innate to mankind.

Rest! We can’t always be ON-THE-GO. Even God, the Almighty, took a sabbath after creation. He demonstrated the need for rest. A person or an organization cannot sustain continual movement without rest. There must be points on the path of success where we can REST!

While we must utilize seasons of rest, we must always be on a conscious alert not to allow complacency to set it. Complacency is a malignant cancer to progress.

How do we combat complacency? My immediate answer would be THANKSGIVING. Okay, this is THANKSGIVING week, so you knew I had to work it in here, right? But, it’s true. An organization or a person fights complacency by being THANKFUL in two ways: (1) Thankful for the blessings in the goals we HAVE ACCOMPLISHED and (2) Thankful for the POTENTIAL that is in us that has yet to be fulfilled.

To the sailor lost at sea, he would be (1) thankful he’s not dead and the things he has accomplished in life and (2) thankful for that island where his life will be sustained (immediate goal).

To a church, we would battle complacency by (1) thankfulness for the gospel of Jesus Christ that saved us and the things we have been able to do to impact the world for Him and (2) knowing that God has greater things YET to do in and through our lives.

Where are you at today in THE LAW OF TREADING WATER?