Today, I climbed a tree for my "first."
I climbed trees a lot when I was a kid. My cousin and I used to climb trees a lot at my grandparents' house. It was fun to see who could climb the highest. That was fun because it was competitive plus had an added element of danger. The first person to either quit or fall was the loser.
I've not tried to climb a tree in at least 20 years that I can remember. I decided to go "old school" with this "first." You can ride around in certain places like parks and find some trees that are easy to climb. I went in the woods behind my house and found one. The hardest part is getting on the first limb. I found one that had a limb I could reach (barely). I grabbed it and then wrapped my legs around it and started shinnying up. When it came time to actually get my foot up on the first branch, I was not sure this was going to work. The easier trees in a park started sounding good. I managed to get it. Then, I could work my way up a bit easier. Of course, the spider webs are fun to deal with while climbing. Also, this tree had pretty small branches so I had to make sure I stayed close to the trunk. I was also a bit leery that some of the branches might give way on me. It's hard to get a guaranteed branch in the woods. I did not climb as high as I would have when I was 10.
The thought did occur to me that if I fell, I would look pretty silly (assuming I survived). That's not to say I did not look silly not falling. Here's what came to me as I did this. If I'm going to follow Jesus, I have to risk looking silly at times. No, I'm certainly not claiming that He called me to climb a tree; I take full responsibility for that idea. Following Him does include a risk of looking silly. Every time I preach,I know I risk looking silly by forgetting my sermon, getting tongue-tied, getting words twisted up and something comes out that sounds like an ugly word (one of my great fears), and just not making a lot of sense. When we choose to back out of situations that are ungodly (drunken parties, ugly jokes, etc.), people can tell us we are silly. God may call you to use your vacation time to go on a mission trip and some people will think that's silly. It may turn out to be one of the most meaningful experiences of your life, but it can still look silly to someone else. They might point out a bunch of fun vacation places you could have went. If you speak out about Jesus where you work, people might think you are silly and make fun of you. Of course, someone might end up giving their life to Jesus, too.
The disciples looked a bit silly at times. There was the time a man brought his son to the disciples for help. They tried but could not help. They had to feel bad. The Bible says in Matthew 17:15-16, " “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 So I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.” I can just see those guys standing off to the side with their heads down. They went to Jesus and asked Him about it. He continued to love them and work with them. Praise God that if we fail and look silly, that's not the end of the story.
We have to decide if Jesus is worth the risk of looking silly. He certainly is way more worth it than climbing a tree is. Now, what will get these tree stains out of my new jeans???
Climbing toward the abundant life
3 things I thank God for today
2. I did not fall out of a tree
3. God's sustaining grace