The rancher is now even more strengthened in his walk and he actually feels a joy as he tackles it with a renewed pace. As he approaches the top of the mountain he can already sense it is going to be a great sight to see and he visualizes it. But when he gets to the top it is so much better than he could imagine. Home!! The finish line!! I made it. As he gazes from the top he takes one gaze back at the path he has conquered and he realizes that he is where he is because God came alongside him and gave him direction, strength, and support. The rancher starts to walk down the mountain toward his home and spots the four wheeler parked in front of the barn. He thinks to himself “If I had taken the four wheeler I would not have the experience of depending on God like I did. I’m glad I walked it.” No regrets. No should have’s or could have’s. Just life on the up high. Me and God.
The rancher breaks into a run and gets to the bottom of the mountain and runs across a grassy knoll to the barn and pauses to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the strength to get home. Home never looked so good!
1. The rancher’s desire to just make it home changed to a more “I can do this” stance along the way when he turned to God. The realization of his self dependency changed to a God dependency along the way and that change of thinking revolutionized his faith. His Mountain to Mountain experience led him to a whole new way of forward thinking and made his prayer life come alive. When we focus on God and become totally dependent on Him our lives take on a whole new way of thinking. Flexibility for change becomes a reality for us and we are extra responsive to following God’s ways in faith. Doubt becomes less and less a part of our lives and hope and faith replace it in almost every area. 2. As we get older sometimes we start looking at the finish line as being the end of our travels and we begin to coast to the finish line, instead of running to it. I want to be a person who sprints to the finish and then turn around and go again. This time with a new realization of God’s power working through me. In the throes of life we can let things get us down and what should be lessons for growth become obstacles to new life and change. When we don’t keep our eyes on Jesus we can get off track and miss the fresh new challenges He has for us. I don’t want to miss any of them. So I must keep my eyes on Him and be ready when He says….GO! Go means pursue….new life……wonderful change…..new challenges….new horizons…..etc. It doesn’t mean “run away.” It means “run to.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 says “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” Paul goes on to say in the following verse…(The Message) I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else about it and then missing out myself.” You can call it whatever you want, but I am not into living in the valleys. I want to conquer more and more mountains in my life and when you walk with God He will stretch you so you can conquer those mountains. 3. So the rancher gets back to the ranch in one piece and he is so happy to be home. Everything is familiar and safe and he can rely on the water source and stop and rest . Now home looks totally different to him. In the safe area of his ranch, with his wife, he can walk with God in easier circumstances. But…he knows it was the tough walk he just completed that made his faith more real and more alive. So, whatever God sends his way, he is ready to go conquer that mountain and grow more in his faith. Complacency and apathy will not be the gods of his life anymore because God has given him a new faith-energy that is compelling him to do more and more in the days ahead. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi and in chapter 2 verse 17 he stated his attitude about life, But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.” My basketball coach had one rule for playing a game. Leave your very best effort on the court. Give everything you have in the game and you will have won in your heart, no matter the score. That is the kind of winning I believe Paul was talking about. So to all who are reading this blog I say, “EFFORT UP!” Run hard to the end “I think I can see it!” The Pilgrimage continues… David Warren