Now I’m not a tightrope walker, but those who are deserve praise for their perfected balancing act. I’ve seen videos of some who string a rope from one rock face to another and cross over several hundred feet of nothingness. I can’t imagine how much inner willpower it takes to traverse that rope. But they do it with grace.
As I look at the Christian life, I see parallels between this gutsy tightrope walker and the Christian seeking to live for Jesus. As Christians, we must be focused on the end goal, which is finishing well, as the Apostle Paul did. And we ought to be balanced in our lives which is no easy task.
When I look at my life, I think I’m more like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to another, never quite reaching the center. For instance, perhaps I struggle in leading others. At first, I might take the passive approach where I let others make decisions for me and agree with them because I don’t want to offend them, if at all possible. Then I decide another day to be a strong leader who assumes a more dominant, aggressive approach where my opinion is always right and must be accepted, no matter what everyone else thinks about it.
Finding the balance as a leader is so difficult. But there is one who modeled leadership perfectly for me. And He can be my example. Jesus was the humble servant leader who extended mercy to the destitute and depraved while rebuking and condemning the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and self-absorption. He is both the suffering servant who died for the world and conquering king who will one day declare his lordship on earth.
That is a leader I would like to emulate. He was humble enough to wash his disciples’ grimy feet and strong enough to rebuke Satan in the wilderness. He was a master tightrope walker. But there is one thing he didn’t balance and never will – his love.
His love was extreme. It was lavish. No one deserved it. In fact, our hate was as extreme as his love. Yet he poured it on us anyways. How can we as Christians not do the same to the world around us?
We must love others, not with a love that primarily seeks to placate others and avoid offending those who need to hear the truth. Rather, it is a love that extends compassion to the needy and lost world, realizing that we too would be in the same place without Jesus’ love for us. It is a love that proclaims the gospel and magnifies Jesus above all else.
In a pluralistic, morally bereft world, compassion is always nice, but to tell them that Jesus is the only way seems a bit harsh and judgmental. I mean, c’mon, who are we to tell them they are wrong and we’re right? That’s the essence of pride, isn’t it?
It would be if I believed the Bible to be a storybook with good, moral truths. But if I believe it to be God’s spoken word to us, then I would be spitting on the cross if I were not willing to share such a glorious, life-changing truth to those who have never heard it.
So let’s walk that tightrope. Let’s focus on Jesus. Let’s live a balanced life under the Word. And let’s love others extravagantly, because we can do no less for a God who loved us more than we will ever comprehend.