Points to Ponder: What's holding you up?

Points to Ponder
What's holding you up?

After I rode my bike 1,071 miles from Laurel, Maryland to Laurel, Mississippi to raise funds for senior citizens in need of roofing work, a few newspapers interviewed me. The local Gazette sent a photographer. She, having an appreciation for cycling and the sacred purpose behind our mission to Laurel, MS, set up a photo shoot of me with my bike in the church Sanctuary. She had me crouch down with my bike in front of me. The photo displays the sun shining through the stained glass windows behind me and the bike. It was nicely done. I thought my bike looked pretty good.
But what the average reader would not notice about that photo is that I am not holding the bike up. In fact, unbeknownst to the photographer, the bike was holding me up. The recent mini-stroke I'd had still had me off balance. I was thankful she didn't ask me to ride the bike so she could take an "action shot." How ironic it was that I had just ridden that bike over 1,000 miles, and now I couldn't ride it around the parking lot. Plus, I did not want any reporter to know that I was so impaired.
The bike was holding me up. Looking at that photograph who could tell?
Fortunately the Lord had restored my capabilities fully in only a matter of days and weeks. But that photo offers a point to ponder about life and what we think we see. It gives us pause to think about how strong and capable we are in something we have mastered. Has that thing really been mastered by our skill and power, or have we come to a point in life where it now is the thing that is propping us up?
Some people become known for something they can do or have done until the image they project becomes who they are. Dr. Wayne Dyer has said, "If you are what you do then if you don't, you aren't." Look at what you do, what you are skilled at and known for; does this define you? Consider what it means to be defined.
To define is to describe, to explain. But also you can box in something by defining it. Sometimes what defines us actually draws boundaries around our souls. What we do becomes a place where some of us hide from being challenged to grow. It's a threatening thought for some people to step into an area that is unfamiliar or outside their field of expertise. Because they don't know what "it" is or how to do it, they fear not knowing then who they are.
Isn't this why retirement is like a death sentence for some people? Isn't this why some parents dread the empty nest years? The career, the day-to-day parenting role, etc. is working definition of "who I am". If I'm no longer doing that then who will I be?
Sometimes what we currently are doing well and have mastered is merely a stepping stone (perhaps one of several to come on your life's journey) upward to the next level of your relationship with the Lord. If you have led a relatively good life full of good works but in the end you never stepped up (or perhaps down) to the level God had called you to, what have you really accomplished?
Thus says the Lord: (ITALICS)"Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NKJV)
Understanding and knowing the Lord is the ultimate day by day objective for which we must strive. Mastering an earthly skill is exhilarating and fulfilling in its own way. Perhaps that's the reason parents have become obsessed with their kids' sports activities. But what is the point if you don't know the Lord?
That's not a rhetorical question. Seriously, with regard to anything you do well or strive for your children to do well in, what is the point if you or they don't know the One who knows each of us better than we know ourselves.
In everything we are wise to direct our energies as Paul tells the Colossians.
(ITALICS)And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Col. 3:23-24 NKJV)

(ITALICS)This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.