Ardor or sacrifice?


Fulfilling God’s purpose usually involves some risk. To deny that in favor of ourselves is counterfeit wisdom and serves no ones purpose but our own. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.

A number of years ago we took the family on a trip in the old Airstream to Maine’s

eer Island via a Canadian route. The route took us through Ontario, into Quebec and down into the Thousand Islands area of upstate New York. We camped in various provincial, national and state parks along the way. One park in particular was along the shores of Lake Ontario. The entire day of travel bringing us to the Lake was overcast and breezy. As we got the trailer in place, just yards from the lakeshore, it looked and smelled like rain was coming, so I put out the awning on the trailer to keep a small area dry near the trailer entry door. As the evening faded into night we turned on the weather radio and tuned into a local weather band. The local NOAA forecast for the northern shores of the Lake Ontario was broadcasting a weather alert for strong, gale force winds and torrential rain. On the one hand I was glad the awning was tied down and up, but on the other hand I feared that it might act as a sail, pushing the 5,000 pound plus trailer off its corner jacks. I knew I had to choose one or the other. I opted to pull the awning back in. When the wind hit it struck the starboard side of the trailer that was facing northeast. As the storm was a northeaster, it smashed into that side with such force that water began spraying through window and door seams. Bedding got wet and it made for an uncomfortable night. In retrospect had I left the awning in place, dropped it to its lowest profile and retied it securely, it may have prevented that; but I was afraid to take the risk.

Had I opted to take that risk I could have weathered the storm better, providing my family with both comfort and security. There was some danger, but I should have gauged it better, providing everyone in that trailer with a bit more comfort during the storm and certainly after it had passed. As it was, the leaking water made the sound of the wind twice as loud.

Here’s a story. Robert Louis Stevenson tells of a storm that caught a vessel off a rocky coast and threatened to drive it and its passengers to destruction. In the midst of the terror, one daring man, contrary to orders, went to the deck, made a dangerous passage to the pilot house and saw the steerman, at his post holding the wheel unwaveringly, and inch by inch, turning the ship out, once more, to sea. The pilot saw the watcher and smiled. Then, the daring passenger went below and gave out a note of cheer: “I have seen the face of the pilot, and he smiled. All is well.” (Robert Louis Stevenson.)

That passenger took a risk he knew was dangerous. No doubt the thought of being tossed overboard was on his mind throughout that short trip to the pilot house. Yet, he took the risk, got out of his comfort zone and pursued a course that he hoped would procure a sense of security for himself and his fellow passengers. I wasn’t willing to take a calculated risk with that awning since I was afraid of what might happen. I put my personal feelings of comfort before the comfort of my family, even though I rationalized it the other way around. Erring on the side of caution is fine, but not calculating the magnitude of how caution may be reasonably defined, is an even bigger error. I thought I was sacrificing myself as the captain of that trailer for my family by going out into the gale to pull that awning in. In reality I was mistaking ardor for sacrifice. Sacrifice includes a level of risk that God calls each one of us to assume, along with the ability to discern what works best and suits best those we love. Fulfilling God’s purpose usually involves some risk; it’s innate to his calling. To deny that in favor of ourselves is counterfeit wisdom and serves no ones purpose but our own.

We pray. Thank you Lord for revealing your purpose for us through your Word and through events in our lives that abide in that purpose. Help us Lord to look upon calculated risk in our life as something both worthwhile and faith building. May we always seek your will in prayer and worship in full knowledge that you are a God who calls us to sacrifice according to your will and not our own passions. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!

Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)

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