Today I sat in a hair stylist’s station and got what few hairs are left a good clean cutting. As I sat stock-still in my chair I noticed a poster on the wall which sported the well-groomed head of a man who looked vaguely like Kevin Costner a la first glance. Beneath his profile were the words, “Walk Right In. Sit Right Down.” Wryly, I thought to myself, I can only obey one of those commandments.
I have walking on the brain today. (Note: I’m a 27 year pro on the wheelchair circuit) Even before I saw that poster I was remembering how many times I’ve been sitting in a worship service when the leader has instructed, “Let’s stand and sing” and I feel eyes cutting in my direction. Don’t get me wrong, I get a huge kick out of these things—most of the time. “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” is another one of those hymn memories that has made me more than a little self-conscious.
For a society that is overweight and under exercised, we sure talk a lot about walking. Australians have their walkabouts, ice cream stands offer walk-up service, people out in the wild communicate via walkie-talkies (sittee-talkies just plain miss the point), we walk our dogs, stroll down memory lane, walk out on our mates, walk in circles and “walk the line.”
Which brings me to the point of my musings for today. Let’s backtrack about 1,960 years to a time when the footpaths were well traveled. See just over the way a small, stoop-shouldered man walking at his usual undistracted pace. Since the Apostle Paul didn’t sport around in a motor car, he did a lot of walking. And he wrote a lot about walking. Without using a concordance, three instances spring to mind:
- We WALK by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)
- WALK circumspectly (Eph 5:15)
- WALK in a manner worthy of your calling (Eph 4:1)
There are others, I know. Many others. But let’s use these three to, uh, “walk” out into the new year. The word Paul uses in all three cases can be translated: ‘to pound the pavement’ or ‘to trudge along’ and infers direction, intention and progress.
When Paul said to walk “circumspectly” he may have had in mind the tedious and accurate work of the scribes who made sure every word, line, jot and tittle (iota and tau) of the Torah (Law) were precisely accurate. Their furrowed brows beaded with the sweat of certainty. They labored to get it right. They counted every word in each line to make sure they came up with the same number that was found in the manuscript they were copying. They were chosen because of their skill and dedication, so Paul could just have easily said, “Walk skillfully in this evil age, treading carefully as you go.”
The passage in Ephesians 4 gives the inspiration for this entry’s title. The phrase “walk in a manner worthy…” is the idea of a set of balanced scales, thus, a balanced life. I don’t mean merely to balance fun with work although all work and no play makes Jack a pretty dull dude; the thought expressed is that each one of us has been created to bring Him glory through righteous works which are part of His master plan for us from eons ago (Eph 2:10). We have been given the indwelling Christ, a certain measure of faith, the promises, a calling, spiritual gifts and the power of the Spirit to make sure we live up to our responsibility. Peter said He has given us “everything we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)! How much? Everything!
The beauty of it all is He has set us up for sure success! My role is to stay attached to the Vine from which I gulp down the Lifeflow of His Person and get to bear the fruit of His service through me. I like those odds. But sadly, many never come into the knowledge of these things and because the scales don’t balance—their life doesn’t work—they walk away sorrowful, dejected, fed up and fit to be tied.
But not us. Not me. Not in this new year. Like you, I want my life to match His dream for me. With all these precious promises, 2009 can be a walk to remember.