A Dangerous Business
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I can so relate to J.R.R. Tolkien’s character, Bilbo Baggins of Bag-End. This unlikely hero prefers the snug, secure, comforts of a safe existence rather than the one that Gandalf has enlisted him up for. However, despite Bilbo’s defiance, complaints, and excuses, he decides to dive right into a dangerous business called, an adventure.
I’m quite sure the disciples felt the same way as Bilbo when Jesus asked them to “Come, follow Me.” No explanation, no ten-step process, no map, or plan as to where Jesus was heading or the obstacles that could stop His mission of rescuing the lost along the way. Jesus just asked them to follow in His footsteps, and He’s asking you the same question.
A dangerous business only requires one qualification – a willing heart, because once you determine that you’re going to “step into the Road” there is no reverse, no looking back at the convenience you left behind, just a forward motion. Jesus wasn’t asking the disciples to “follow Me” specifically, the statement was more of an invitation to step into a dangerous business of discipleship, of training, of courage, and of madness rather than just following along behind.
In short, Jesus asked the Twelve if they would like to come on an adventure.
‘Jesus called out to them and said, “Come and follow Me, and I will transform you into men who catch people for God.” Immediately they dropped their nets and left everything behind to follow Jesus.’ Matthew 4:19-20
Heidi Baker reminds us that “Faith is able to see the promise, even when it feels like the most distant of dreams”. She’s right, all we need to do is trust and believe.
However, like Bilbo, it’s critical to read the fine print of the contract before you sign up for a dangerous business. Before you shake the hand of God, know that the precarious path of the exploit can have a few nasty turns if you’re not careful. Tut tut tut, there I go again, talking like Mr Baggins of Bag-End, rationalising every step that only heightens my awareness in my “no knowing where you might be swept off to” thoughts, leaving me doubtful and full of fears as to where the path may lead by trying to control the outcome of things that are out of my control.
We can fumble along in the dark caverns wondering where to go if we let fear cause us to shrink back from the journey. But Psalm 119:105 reminds us that, ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path’ prompting us that God’s Word lights the way like a kerosene lamp full of oil, making sure the wicks are trimmed so we can shine the light of Jesus into the gloom with scriptures that keep us vigilant and focused to the enemy’s schemes.
A dangerous business is not a job description, you don’t just tick off tasks that need doing throughout your days here on earth. Responding to a call for adventure is something altogether different. It takes courage to be obedient when things get extremely difficult. When the doctor’s report comes back with bad news, when your bank account looks grim, and when you’re wondering whether you really did hear from God, or perhaps it was just that second Hobbit breakfast repeating on you?
As Eugene H. Peterson suggests, “We set out to risk our lives in a venture of faith. We committed ourselves to a life of holiness. At some point we realized the immensity of God and of the great invisibles that socket into our arms and legs, into bread and wine, into our brains and our tools, into mountains and rivers, giving them meaning destiny, value, joy, beauty, salvation.”
Meaning, destiny, value, joy, beauty, and salvation? Sounds like a dangerous business to me. This call to adventure needs a willing, obedient heart, a faith that trusts God regardless of circumstances and the understanding of the sacrifice that won our salvation. The bravery that ignores the whispers from the enemy telling you that you’re not good enough, you’re not called, and you’re not chosen.
God promises to work everything out for our good (Romans 8:28) He doesn’t promise that He’ll make our lives easier, just more fulfilling. A dangerous business, a call to adventure is to anyone and every one of us who are ready to leave the “safety” of our nets behind and follow Him.
But how do I answer the call?
Well, it’s your love for Jesus and all that He’s done for you that helps you to open the door to the dangerous business of adventure because love ‘…never looks back but keeps going to the end.’
1 Corinthians 13:7
Like myself, can you relate to, Bilbo Baggins of Bag-End? Have you chosen to answer the call of a dangerous business and “step into the Road” trusting God with every step?
I pray today, that you will keep reminding yourself why you choose to leave your “safety” net and follow Him. I ask the Holy Spirit to continue to guide you on your journey and reveal to you your meaning, your destiny, your value. Which brings joy, beauty, and above all else, your salvation.