Saturday, April 4, 2015

Beginner Biker - But Ready to Pedal

I love the idea of biking. Gliding through the woods, streams, roads with nothing but wind in your ears...awesome.

But am I a biker? No.

I have a crappy bike I bought at Walmart when we first got married with dreams of cycling around town in blissful glee.

I wanted to start biking then...instead we went twice in 22 years. 

Each year I also dream of using the bike to further my health and exercise.

I go once a year…at best.

Why? Because one of the pedals was never attached right…or it was flawed in manufacturing. It basically loosens up every ride so by the end I’m favoring that pedal so it doesn’t fall off. As a result I don’t get very far and it’s really slow going. I try to fix it by getting my tools out, and for a while it seems tight, but after a while it loosens again. 

Once I took the whole pedal assembly apart and put it back together but … nothing. It’s just a crappy bike. 

As a result, I don’t get far on my journey on my bike because I can’t push down as hard as I need onto that pedal. Once I tried to use just one pedal, you know, push down, then move your toe and pull up? But that was just dumb...a whole lot of extra work trying to find my own way to use this other than the way it was designed.


Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been listening to Andy Stanley’s “Brand New” message during lunch at work. Then last Sunday our message at church talked about the same thing. It went something like, 

If you only remember one thing about following Jesus, it’s this:

Love God, Love others

Even more to the point:

Your love of Jesus is shown through how you love others

Doug, our pastor, used an analogy of a bike frame…asking if we need to re-frame our faith from doing things that help ME get closer to God (worship, church, read, …all good things), and instead focus on loving others (serving, feeding, getting your hands dirty) summary asking in any interaction with our fellow humans, “What does Love require of me today”?. Which for me is terrifying: is my true love for Jesus measurable through how I love others?

This has preoccupied my thoughts ever since.


Including thinking about my crappy bike.

When I took the bike analogy further, it seems that for me, the whole Jesus-journey is like pedaling. To “Love God”, I push down really hard on my good pedal. But, I can only go so far down the journey God wants me to travel. To go farther, I have to push down on the “Love Others” pedal. You know, that broken, flawed pedal. The one that I’m not good at…the one that constantly reminds me I’m flawed…and others are flawed.

It’s one thing to “Love God”…I can do that alone. Not involve anyone else, and it’s fairly clean. Even the struggles with sin and failure are my own private conversation with God. 

It’s a completely different story to “Love Others”. That involves pushing on this flawed pedal. It is hard, it’s messy, and it makes me slip, causing pain and sometimes bloody pain.

I wonder if all along I've been trying to use the "Love God" pedal by know, push down, then move your toe and pull up so you can push down again? How dumb. It's exhausting, I waste an entire pedal's worth of energy, and to be blunt, it's not how the bike was designed. The bike is designed to push down on one pedal so you are in the position to push down on the other pedal.

If I take the analogy to it’s conclusion, I know that I can only reach my destination on my bike if I push down on the first pedal, and use the energy gained from that first push to push down on the second pedal. Each time I push I exert energy tha brings the ability to push the other pedal...

If I think of this point again:

Your love of Jesus is shown through how you love others

Then that tells me that the journey God wants me to take can ONLY be fulfilled if I first love God, then use the energy I’ve gained to love others. And when all my energy in loving others is sapped, I can turn and love God again. Soon, I’m gathering speed and it feels like one pedal is helping me with the other...and soon I feel like both are feeding each other and I could be flying down this path…

...much farther along the journey that God wants me to take than I ever would have if I just tried to push the same pedal over and over. 

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