On this particular excursion, I navigated a precipitous bluff with a friend. As we scrambled across loose footing, my buddy espoused the simple technique of traveling from one sapling to another, using their tenacious grasp on the steep slope to steady ourselves. I agreed; without some timely grappling onto said trees, I would have ended up at the bottom of the hill much faster!
After soaking in the serenity down by the river, we set out to climb back to the top. Again, we needed the occasional assistance of a sturdy branch to navigate up the hill. As we neared the apex, I let my friend know that I prefer firm footing to a good handhold- a secure, level rock to stand on seems better to me than a sturdy branch to grab. Just as I spoke, the boulder under my feet began to wobble!
Nothing will make you catch your breath quite so fast as shaky footing on a steep incline. This unnerving experience repeated itself a few times before we reached the top. It seems that over the years, many boulders have plummeted from the top of the bluff, crashing through the woods below to find a new resting place. As it turns out, not all of those rocks were settled!
When we reached the brow of the hill, we sat down to take in the view. Below us lay the field of rocks strewn across a sharp incline. I couldn't help but be reminded of Jesus words, "Anyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man, who built his house on the rock." You and I live in a world of challenges and obstacles. Every day we navigate unsure footing at work, with family, and in our finances. How often have you set out in a new direction, only to find the very ground beneath your feet shifting? It seems we are surrounded by unreliable cars, unpredictable people, shifting schedules, and surprises at work. Have you ever been suddenly startled by that kind of wobbling?
Jesus told us that his way of doing life would lay out a secure trail through the sketchy terrain of life. His profound teaching illuminates a relational path that gives us traction with God, people, and in so many of our endeavors.
Treat others like you want to be treated.
Pursue God first, and all your other pursuits will come into focus.
Practice forgiveness as a normal part of daily living.
True service to those around you is the highest form of achievement.
In these and so many other ways, Jesus put forward a counter intuitive way of living. He did not promise pain free living, but he did lay out a way to find secure footing. And those courageous enough to follow in those footsteps discover a safe path through an uncertain life.