Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. – Hebrews 12
I am now the proud owner of my very own snow shovel. I know, that sounds kind of nerdy, but it’s a fairly big deal for this relatively recent import from the sand and sunshine of Florida.
So I went directly next door and shoveled my parents’ sidewalk, and their front stoop, then a path to their car. I was having so much fun that I shoveled our own front stoop, and sidewalk…
Then I realized how tired I was and so I put the shovel away.
But that was yesterday. Late in the day a lot of the snow turned to slush, and then – overnight – it all froze solid. Now – snow shovel or not – it’s just about impossible to move.
VIRGINIA: Our daughter Naomi’s family recently moved to Richmond. Their new home is just a couple of hours north from Wake Forest, but they’ve been getting significantly more snow. It’s perfect for small children (and enthusiastic parents) who like to build snowmen.
Unfortunately, they live in a new development, and the snowplow routing schedule doesn’t acknowledge that their street actually exists. “No problem,” our three-year-old grandson said, “I can use daddy’s snow shovel.”
It was a wonderful idea, but David didn’t last more than a few minutes before turning his attention back to play.
COMMITMENT: Looking at that picture of David, enthusiasm shining brightly all over his face, shoveling snow with one-hundred percent commitment, made me think about the joy, and the enthusiasm, and the “I can shovel the entire street” sense of moment that so often characterizes the first few steps, or miles, or days, of the spiritual journey.
But then reality sets in. We have a bad day, or a difficult week; we lose our cool with our children; we fight with our spouse. We become discouraged, and we quickly lose touch with the shiny newness of faith. And sometimes we wonder why we were so exited before – or we simply forget how we once felt.
JESUS said that, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
At first glance the great teacher sounds kind of harsh, but the aphorism turns out to be a word of practical encouragement. Because there is no need to look over our shoulder, searching for the enthusiasm we once had. Commitment (and assurance) is always found in the next step, not the previous one.
Commitment (and assurance) is always found in the next step, not the previous one...
SHINY & NEW: The shiny newness and fresh enthusiasm of faith is ours now, not then. And it comes – like the person at the plow, from keeping our eyes on a fixed point ahead. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” – Hebrews 12:2
- the journey is the encouragement;
- the pathway is its own reward;
- the next step is the best step;
- the decision to follow is right in front of us every new day;
- moving forward is always a challenge;
- and everything becomes possible – everything – when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
In love, and because of love – DEREK