There are three kinds of people in the world, those who make waves, those who ride waves, and those who sit on the beach.
Wave makers are those who innovate, create, and change the direction of culture and society. They are often well known, and people who know about them feel very strongly one way or another about them. Such people are catalytic, sparking great excitement or great contempt. Steve Jobs is a wave maker in the technology realm. Brian MacLaren is a wave maker in Christianity. He may be the father of the Emerging Church movement, and people who are aware of him think that he is either a genius or a heretic. I’ll withhold judgment for now.
There are really more wave makers than you might think. The problem with being a wave maker is that it is hard work, and often involves swimming against the tidal wave of tradition. As a result, most wave makers are never heard of, because most of them drown. Though wave makers are necessary and needed, being a wave maker is risky and tiring.
The second type of person is a wave rider. This is the person who waits in the water for some brave soul to create the wave, and then they jump on for the ride. They are students of culture and can feel the subtle changes in the current of society. They look for patterns and new developments, and upon sensing them, paddle madly to catch the next big wave. The most dedicated wave riders will ride one wave for a while, and then paddle back out to wait for the next one.
There is risk in riding waves, but not nearly as much as in making waves. As such, there are always a lot more wave riders than wave makers. Most wave riders survive, but the drawback is that most of them do not become well known. A few will get book deals and prominent leadership positions, but most will just keep riding waves. Another drawback is that many wave riders are criticized for “going with the flow” and just following every new wave that comes along.
Finally, there are those who sit on the beach and watch it all happen while soaking up the sun. They are the sand sitters. They either “Ooh” and “Aaah” at the wave makers and wave riders, or criticize them and tell each other what they would have done differently if they were the ones out in the water, braving the sharks and rip tides. There is nothing really wrong with sitting on the beach, enjoying the rays of the sun. After all, the wave makers and wave riders need someone to cheer them on.
But sand sitters have the danger of getting burned. If they aren’t careful, never get out and splash around in the water, and fall asleep on the beach, they end up with nasty sunburns (Read 1 Cor 3:15).
So what kind of beach goer are you?