One of my sons is a mountain climber. Traversing narrow pathways few mortals ever see, he clings to the face of a cliff, roped to other climbers, with stout protection pounded into the rock. I’ve heard that this depicts the Christian walk, but until a few weeks ago, I could not see it.
Understanding began when my pastor said that the biggest fear of most people is being forgotten, and cited cemetery markers as proof. I cringed. I’d thought my motivation for writing was honoring God, not building a monument.
While pondering that, I stumbled into C.S. Lewis’s book, George MacDonald: An Anthology. The lines on page 12 & 13 tugged at my heart. Jesus says to avoid treasure that moths and rust destroy (Matt 6:19). I thought Jesus meant material wealth, but MacDonald believed an ambition to be seen as better than other people was worse. God sees our hearts and knows what we have stored there. Ouch. Not just money, but ambition. Scared, I wondered if I should I give up writing and be content with caring for grandchildren, husband, and home.
Then, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the Parable of the Talents (Matt 28:14-30). In this story, Jesus tells about a landowner who took a trip and entrusted his wealth to three servants while away. The first two servants used the resources and doubled them by the time the landowner returned. The final servant did nothing with the wealth. In fact, he hid it. In that light, not using God’s gifts is as wrong as using them for our own vanity.
The narrow way that Jesus spoke of is in between the twin cliffs of prideful ambition on one side and fear of failure or failure to try on the other. Having my eyes opened to pride, ambition, and fear helped me to see the path of humble service.
We are good at hiding motivation from ourselves. By revealing hidden truth, the Holy Spirit teaches us, and reminds us, too, that even the air we breathe is a gift from God. All our abilities, all our best thoughts are gifts. We can do nothing of value, nothing good without His aid and blessing.
Fortunately, we do not travel alone, for we are roped together through the ages to other believers. And God, our Rock, keeps his promises to us: “I will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut 31:8). The very hairs on our heads are numbered. (Matt 10:30).
Have a blessed day, traveling on the narrow way.
Photo credit to O.G.Reid