I’ve recently been reflecting on the first and last time I went snow skiing. It was the winter of 1988 and I was on leave from the Army. After Christmas, I got bored and called a friend from basic training who lived in Colorado. He invited me to visit for a few days, so I did.
My friend helped me pick out all the necessary equipment to rent and we purchased tickets for Estes Park. I remember being nervous and excited as we were riding the lift up the mountain. Having never skied before I asked, “what do I do when the lift stops?” His reply was, “just get off and go.” So, that’s what I did.
The lift stopped and I jumped off and went. Like a pulling guard leading his tailback to the end zone, slow at first but picking up speed, nothing was going to stop me. I was determined to not just make it down but make it without falling down.
I had picked up quite a bit of speed when I noticed ahead of me that the course was going to veer left. I realized I didn’t know how to turn and all the will I could muster in my mind didn’t make the skis take me left. I pictured myself as the cartoon bunny leaving his silhouette in a snow drift as I went off course. Fortunately, the course corrected itself to the right after a short distance and I managed to get back on track. Without falling down I might add. I was going along well for a while then the down slope increased. So did my speed. I was going so fast that a man, blowing a whistle, pulled up next to me. He yelled, “slow down!” I yelled back, “I can’t, I don’t know how!”
I then got to thinking, not only do I not know how to slow down, I don’t know how to stop. I envisioned myself shooting off course and over a cliff or onto the highway in the middle of traffic. I have to say fear was starting to build as I was nearing the bottom of the mountain. Then reprieve, I saw an incline at the end of the course. The incline slowed me to a stop right in front of the lodge. In my mind I shouted exuberantly. I made it and I did not fall down. I took off my skis, went in the lodge and ordered a drink (remember it’s 1988). Several minutes later my friend showed up. With a grin I asked, “What took you so long?” He replied, “I stopped to help up all the people you knocked over.” I had not even realized people were there much less running them over. Apparently running over people’s skis, while they are skiing, is not good.
As a follower of Christ today, I look at this story and think, is Jesus more concerned with what I want to accomplish or is He more concerned with how I get there? People love to put “their accomplishments” on social media. They may even give a little kudos to Jesus for them but rarely will you see how they got there and how others were affected. Jesus says in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I HAVE LOVED YOU. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Also, Matthew 7:17-20 says “So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” I certainly doubt anyone thought that my accomplishment of making it down the mountain without falling was good fruit. What do you think people thought of me knocking them over and not helping them up?
To sum things up, I had all the tools and was on the course. I had a friend who knew the course and how to use the tools. I didn’t know how and didn’t ask how to use the tools. I had one goal in mind and even as small of a goal as it was, it was only about me. We will not mature as Christians if we live as if our relationships, with Him and others, is supposed to make our life be the way we want instead of the way He wants. We are to live our lives as an example of Christ within us. We are to pursue Christ and be ever mindful of our effect on others regardless of our goals.
Posted on Thu, August 25, 2016
by Kyle Woodall