“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring
Like Bilbo Baggins says, it is dangerous business stepping outside one’s door. It’s a big, wide world with plenty of distractions, wrong turns, and pitfalls. Keeping one’s feet steady and sure is important.
What does it mean to keep one’s feet? Literally, one should be careful where one steps — avoiding everything from random cow patties to rusty nails. The right shoes, the right socks, and the right frame of mind all contribute to a successful journey.
On a deeper level, to keep one’s feet entails making sure a sense of purpose carefully outlined. One needs maps, guides, and a plan to ensure a successful journey. Of course, even with the right accoutrements there are no absolute guarantees, but good preparation is key.
For me keeping my feet, means following in the footsteps of my Creator, incarnate in the person of Jesus, the Son of God. This means attuning my gait to his gait, my direction to his direction, my routine to his routine. Yup, my very way of being in the world needs to be as close to his example as possible to ensure steady footing. I must practice my discipleship walk, just as the marathon runner trains for a race.
In the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming it to others I myself should not be disqualified” (24-27).
Basically, what Paul is saying is that you have to work at the steady footing that will keep you on the right path toward the ultimate goal. Thankfully, God wants all of us to wear that “imperishable wreath” of eternal life. The gift is ours, but that doesn’t mean we can be spiritual couch potatoes.
No dear friends, up and at ’em. No need to be swept away by the cares, woes, and lures of the world. Keep your feet by walking in the way of Jesus — loving God, loving neighbor as self, and living a life worthy of the prize to which we aspire.
Tonight, as I go to sleep anticipating a wonderful day of worship and fellowship with the faith community of which I am a part, I give thanks for steady footing, for spiritual disciplines that train and prepare me, and for the One who loves me and you beyond all compare.
Photo by lululemon athletica used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!