We had the honor of hearing from one of our elders this morning – Todd St. John. In short, Todd spoke to us about living a life of faith. Todd is an avid mountain biker and, accordingly, titled his message, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mountain Biking.”
One of the most attention-getting aspects of mountain biking is the gap jump. As the name implies, the technique involves jumping gaps of varying sizes with your bike. They vary from low penalty jumps to high penalty jumps. The parallel to acting in faith or taking “leaps of faith” is a obvious one. Sometimes God calls us to things that seem easy. Often times these things carry not-so-large consequences if we fail. Other times God calls us to leaps of faith that seem incredibly hard and the consequences of failure are enormous. All throughout the Bible God calls people to act in faith. From Abraham leaving his home and going to find a new one; to being asked to sacrifice his only son; to God calling Moses to try to part the Red Sea; to God calling Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water, all of these stories involve the people of God being called to take leaps of faith and trust that God would come through. God calls us to the same thing these days but how good are we at acting on faith.
With gap jumps, mountain bikers build up the bigger and bigger jumps. As their confidence and ability grows they are able to approach the jumps confidently. In the same way, when we become believers God begins to call us to act in faith and take steps that require us to have faith in him. If you are walking with Christ then you should be in situations that require God to come through. Are you in a relationship that seems hopeless? Are you looking for that promotion so that you can preach the gospel louder? Maybe you need help starting a ministry, paying that bill, beating cancer, reaching out to a neighbor; in all of these situations God calls us to trust him, believe him and have faith that he will come through.
What keeps us from landing jumps? Jesus is clear that often times a lack of prayer and faith affects our ability to land the jump. That’s a hard pill to swallow but that’s what he says. Other times we can appear to fail because God’s timing is not like our timing. Still other times we can appear to fail because we have the wrong definition of success. God may be doing something in our situation that we will not see for many years to come. Sometimes it may appear as though we have failed when we have really succeeded. Even Jesus chose to act in faith and take on the sin of the world, go to the cross and die for our sins. For three days it looked like Jesus had failed. Only later did we find out that he had landed the biggest gap jump of all time.
God is sovereign and his purposes will be accomplished no matter what we do, but God calls us to take bold steps, act in faith and trust that he will take care of us.
What leaps of faith is God calling you to right now? What are the consequences of failure? What will the results be of success? Even if its hard to know the answer to those questions the command from Jesus is clear – jump.