Our Tuesday morning WOW group is currently studying the book “The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ” by James Bryan Smith. In one of our readings, Mr. Smith writes “The question is not, What will I have to give up to follow Jesus? What will I never get to experience if I choose not to follow Jesus? The answer is clear: we will forfeit the chance to live a good and beautiful life.”
Mark and I along with some friends recently took a trip to Estes Park and I spent the first two days hiking in the mountains of Rocky Mountains National Park. It was pretty difficult hiking for me and I found myself needing to stop to catch my breath and feeling muscles I had forgotten I had. Often the trail was rocky and getting good footing was somewhat difficult. However, as we climbed higher, the view became more spectacular until we reached our goal, a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. I was reminded that if I don’t do the hike, I don’t get the view. In the same way, if I don’t follow Christ, I don’t get the abundant life He promises to his followers.
Matthew 7:14 tells us “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Sometimes following Jesus is hard. Perhaps He asks us to do things that we don’t want to do. He may want us to go talk with someone and actually, we don’t even really like that person. But just like my hikes that were difficult, once I reached the top of that mountain, I almost wanted to go further. Almost. Perhaps someday I will go back and take a more difficult hike and go even higher, but for now, I am going to remember the reward from choosing to take the hikes I took and the enjoy the wonderful life experiences I get by choosing to follow Jesus.