NASHVILLE, Tenn. –– People attending the National Gathering of United Methodist Men left the Belmont University Curb Event Center with half-inch sponges in their pockets.
The tiny squares were given to them by David Delk, president of Man in the Mirror ministries, based in Orlando, Fla.
In the final Sunday morning worship service, Delk told the assembly that sponges can be wet or dry.
A dry sponge soaks up moisture and a wet one provides it.
Some men are like dry sponges. Others are saturated with the water of the Gospel, and they provide water to anyone who touches them.
He encouraged men to keep the sponges as reminders of their need to stay connected to Jesus, because “when you take a sponge out of the water it starts to dry out.”
“Most men know just enough about God to be disappointed,” Delk told men gathered at Belmont University. He said too many men depend on their own religiosity and moral actions, but if they are not connected to Jesus, they have no transformational power.
“The power of Jesus Christ can transform you ‘from the inside out’.”
Delk recalled an experience as an elementary school patrol leader who helped schoolmates across the street. A bully intimidated him by knocking his books off a nearby post.
“If you write me up, I’ll beat you up,” said the bully.
Delk wrote him up.
When he later told his mother about his lack of enthusiasm about being beat up, she suggested Delk’s older brother could stand nearby on the following day.
Delk confidently returned to his post knowing his big brother had his back.
“We also don’t have to be worried about being bullied because Jesus Christ has our back,” said Delk.
“I want Jesus to be magnified because of what he does in and through my life,” he said. “Nothing can stand against His church and His people.”
In thinking about possible actions when men return to their homes, Delk advised them to act immediately and not wait. He suggested some might want to become officers in United Methodist Men; others might want to become full-time pastors.
“If you don’t pursue it now, it will start to fade,” he said.
Sponges from Nashville may serve as reminders.