Last week, my wife and I met with our friend Kelly in Chicago and were recounting the highlights of our recent vacation. Kelly and I share the common (and irrational) fear of heights. She told us her zip-lining adventure from the week before and I couldn’t help but sit back and laugh at the idea. Little did I know that several hours later I would be coerced into riding to the very top of the largest Ferris wheel I have ever seen! Needless to say, my wife was the only one enjoying the view of the beautiful Chicago skyline and the lake with both eyes open…
We told Kelly about our visit with the kids to Gatorland in Central Florida… and the fact that they offered a zip-lining adventure over a pond filled with alligators. We were all amused by the prospect. As if the sheer height of the zip-line is not treacherous enough — is it really necessary to throw carnivorous reptiles into the equation?
I was reading my friend Tripp’s interview here on the site last week and have been pondering what he said about people who are wrestling with the words of Jesus: “out there trying to figure out how being a Christian makes certain claims on a person that may not necessarily be enjoyable or self-serving… You know, how does something like the Sermon on the Mount, if taken seriously, wreck your world? Because it does . . . or it will.”
The words of Jesus often seem like great heights to me. It is difficult for me to look over the edge as I study them and consider what they mean in my life. But there is more to those “red-letter words” than just their foreboding altitude. There is the actual jump.
We approach the Gospel sometimes like it is self-serving, as if it is something that will simply improve our lives here and for eternity (and there is truth in this); there is a sense of freedom to living the Gospel that I would imagine similar to flying with reckless abandon down a zip-line.
But I think Tripp was right…the Gospel will wreck your world. There are also the alligators… Making the jump to allow the words of Jesus to effect claims on your life isn’t always smooth sailing. There might be more tangible similarities to truly following the One who would ask you to take up your cross (your personal electric chair) and hooking yourself up to that line at Gatorland.
We don’t often read it or hear it preached, but the Gospel is less self-preservation and more zip-lining over alligators than we probably want to admit.