One of the deepest longings in all of us is the desire to make a difference in this world. Though most of life is full of the mundane and ordinary, which is important and keeps us grounded, deep down all of us crave adventure. Even the most risk adverse or timid homebody is drawn towards epic stories of bravery, honor, deep friendship, and yes, even some romance. Some of us fantasize about what it would be like to go on a quest with close friends to overcome evil with good. We often choose to live these longings vicariously through someone else’s story rather than daring to take the road less traveled for ourselves. Just look at how popular the recent movie the Hobbit is or how many kids are immersed in video role playing games, especially boys.
The next generation is searching for a an adventure worth giving their lives for!
Most of us are like Bilbo Baggins from the movie the Hobbit. Bilbo is quite content to stay put in Hobbiton where life is safe and predictable. That all changes when Gandolf and the dwarves show up at his house and invite him to join him on a grand adventure to restore and redeem their homeland from the evil dragon. Initially, he refuses the invitation to join the dwarves on their odyssey. He is afraid, feels inadequate, and would rather enjoy the comforts of Hobbiton than risk signing up for a sojourn with Gandolf and the dwarves which would be rife with danger and uncertainty. After the dwarves leave to start their journey, Bilbo is overcome with that gnawing internal tug we all have to be part of something life changing and not miss out by giving in to our doubts. He overcomes his fears and runs after the dwarves embarking on the joy and challenge of taking the road less traveled with a few, faithful, forgiving friends.
Deep down we all want to be part of a grand story where even the menial and the mundane things of life have meaning. In short, we all want to live a life of significance. We want our lives to count for something. Even the most shy, fearful person is wired for an adventure that makes a difference.
Some try to escape the tedious, ho hum, daily grind by becoming thrill seekers. They embark on some daring feat like climbing Mount Everest, or becoming adrenaline junkies by always pushing the limits. They attempt crazy pursuits such as hang gliding, or the latest craze in Norway, called wingsuit jumping. This is a sport where folks climb to the top of a cliff overlooking a fiord and jump. The first hundred or so feet you free fall. Then at the last possible moment you pull the ripcord for your parachute and hope it works to break your fall before you splat on the valley below. Sounds crazy to me!
The majority of us will never attempt such great exploits, yet all of us are being invited to go on a grand adventure where we become contributors and sojourners in the Big Story of God’s plan to rescue and restore this world back to His original idea. Yes, as amazing as it sounds, you and I are being tapped on the shoulder with the invitation to join God on His mission to bring justice, peace, beauty, reconciliation, renewal, and restoration to all of God’s creation. (Romans 8:18-21; II Cor. 5:18-20) We have the privilege to be part of God’s natural and super natural solutions to end poverty, to provide clean water and education for all, to be advocates of justice for abused women and children, to eradicate diseases such as HIV and malaria, to bring real peace between competing and warring peoples and ethnic groups, to discover clean energy sources that don’t damage the environment, to create beauty and communicate truth through the arts, and to be the delivery boy or girl who brings the message of Hope to all: the Good News that the Creator of the Universe loves us and desires to have a relationship with each and every one of us.
We are not to go on this journey alone. God promises His backing, and all of His resources to help us. We are to find a circle of friends who together ask these three questions: “What part are you and I to play in God’s Big Story?” and “What are the gifts, talents, and ideas given to us from God to make a difference in this world? ” and “Who are the band of friends that we are link arms with on this grand adventure?”
To take our place in this Grand Story requires taking a risk and choosing to take the road less traveled. These choices are presented to us daily in small ways, and then occasionally in our lives we are given opportunities to choose a path that results in monumental and deeply impacting changes to us and the world we live in. With that I leave you with this poem from Robert Frost to reflect on as you and I contemplate the choices before us:
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Here’s to living a life full of purpose and adventure. Take the road less traveled and see where it takes you!