“Know, O my people, the time for hesitation is past.”
I don’t know about you, but it seems like God puts the challenge right out there for me in this line of scripture. “What’re you waiting for?!?” comes the question. What am I waiting for? Why do I continue to hesitate, even though I know the adventure awaits my response? The time is now, but for some reason, I’m still sitting on the porch, hoping for more time, more energy, more resolve, more direction. I have my rhythms, my circle of friends, my way of thinking; come to think of it, I’m really quite comfortable where I’m at, thank you very much. But am I?
I went to see “The Hobbit” last week, and was caught up in the intrigue of Bilbo, a simple hobbit very much attached to his cozy home, when he is invited to go on an adventure far away by the wizard, Gandalf. As Bilbo struggles with the immensity of the request, Gandalf prods and encourages him to consider what he has to gain by leaving his porch: “The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there!” Bilbo continues to weigh his heart, wondering if it’s worth the risk to leave all he has ever known. As Gandalf tells him that he will have stories to tell when he comes back, Bilbo hopefully responds, “You can promise that I will come back?” After a pause, Gandalf tells him the solemn truth: “No. And if you do, you will not be the same.”
Discipleship isn’t a noun, it’s a verb, and one in the present tense. The adventure with God and community will change us – we will not be the same at the end of the journey. But it is the adventure of a lifetime. God’s calling us, you and I, to move, to lay behind whatever our hesitation may be and dive in, ready to see the world beyond the books and maps that others are content with. For we want to live, we feel the restlessness to seek beyond the horizon, to step off the porch and into the rush of the world sustained by our Guide. We want to move…but are we willing to?
Several hours after being asked on the adventure, Bilbo still finds himself sitting in his armchair, pondering. “I just need to sit quietly for a moment,” he tells Gandalf, but he was not expecting the reply: “You’ve been sitting quietly for far too long!”
Have I been sitting quietly for far too long, letting the moment slip past me? What about now, when God calls me on an adventure? It’s time to move, my friends – move into a deeper level of commitment, move into a new and exciting phase of the journey with a congregation who will love and support you, move to invite others to come off the sidelines and onto the path of discipleship with you.
Bilbo ends up deciding that the time for him to hesitate is past, and as neighbors call curiously to him as he races off down the lane, he responds “I’m already late!”
“Late for what?”
“I’m going on an adventure!”
For it is never too late to join Christ on the adventure of a lifetime!