Sunday, June 1, 2008

Learning to Ride a Bike

One of my favorite quotes is from T.S. Eliot: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” If you have read my scribblings for any period of time, you know that Soren Kierkegaard is one of my favorite writers. He writes: “To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”

God has something to say on the subject as well. Three times in Joshua 1:6-9, God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” Repetition is something God uses for emphasis. God tells Joshua to be courageous because God has a picture for Joshua’s life that is better than the life that Joshua is currently experiencing. And God wants Joshua to bring a bunch of people along with him to share this life of abundance.

Last Monday, my seven-year-old son, Benjamin and I decided to go ride our bikes. We were quite the odd couple. I had my Giant Triathlon bike and he had his little Schwinn with training wheels. He has never been interesting much in bicycling. But I asked him at the end of our little ride: Do you want to take off the training wheels? Much to my surprise he said, “Sure.”

We went across the street to the swimming pool and I started pushing him in the parking lot. At first I knew there was no way this was going to work. But he got better fast. I let him go a little bit at a time. Within minutes he was tearing around the parking lot on his own. He loves riding his little bike. He wouldn’t have experiencing this joy unless he risked falling.

One more thing. God told Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. For I’m with you wherever you go.” I was there with Benjamin, doing my best to make sure he succeeded and didn’t fall. I love him. It is the same with God and us. He is with us to prevent us from falling and to help us be successful.
Lessons discovered from Benjamin learning how to ride his bike:

1. Rewards in life come because risks are taken. Get on the bike.
2. Risks don’t have to be foolish. Consider using training wheels for a while.
3. Courage and risk isn’t a one-time choice. It is a lifestyle. It takes more than a day to learn to ride a bike.
4. Know that God is with you. You have somebody a whole lot better than a 38 year old pastor keeping you upright while you learn to pedal or do whatever else it is you are trying to do.

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