///// An IronMen Moment /////
(Please pass this along to those men and young men in your life...and encourage them to visit IronMen at their upcoming informational meetings! See the HiSawyer site!)
The art of focus.
They tell us that the fox (*vulpes necator* and its relatives in *vulpes vulpes*) has an interesting and unique ability, when it comes to hunting its prey. It can "hear" through its feet! Imagine that!
The nerve endings in its feet allow the Fox to sense vibrations and movement under the ground. Including those made by mice, rabbits, and other burrowing prey.
It's one of the reasons that foxes are photographed jumping into the air, sometimes above a snow mound, and aiming their bodies like an arrow to pounce on their prey. They go in nose-first. The jump is quite a commitment, when you think about it.
Does God ever call His followers to that sort of face-first commitment? Hmmm. Makes you wonder.
Ancient samurai warriors had a saying,
"Take arrows in your forehead, never your back."
The idea was that a samurai went into battle with a focus on proceeding through the fray until victory was accomplished. Or, die while serving. The term "samurai" literally means "one who serves," and giving their lives on the battlefield was an equally honorable outcome for them.
This goes to the rationale for the construction of their armor. It was light, flexible, easy to carry, and offered little protection from behind. Wearing light armor was similar to Christ's direction to His disciples to bring very little with them when He sent them out on their first evangelism trip across the country (Matthew 10:10).
But there is something even more explicit in Jesus' teachings. Christ had already turned to the crowds following Him and explained how much MORE they must be devoted to Him as compared with other loves in their life. The love for Him will seem so strong as to make other devotions pale by comparison. Almost seem like hate when compared to their commitment to Him. At another time, Jesus did this same kind of calling out of disciples from the crowd, and many of those flocking to Him ended up turning around -- they went back home. It was a pretty serious call to followership.
Luke records this call in chapter 14 of his Gospel:
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you,
30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
"Cannot be" His disciples. Wow. He was asking for commitment. Almost as if He wants us to see our target and dive right in for it.
Almost like we're being asked to wear light armor...grasp our swords...and serve well. To be of service.
The core of Christianity is the connection to Christ.
That's something to remember. It isn't about church attendance. It's not about going through the motions of religious duties. It's not about showing off our zeal to look right, talk right, be right.
The core of Christianity is the connection to Christ. THAT relation to Jesus is the Abiding connection. Beginning with your personal commitment to follow Him.
Much like breathing is the most fundamental ability to an athlete or a warrior, the abiding connection to the Captain-of-our-salvation is the most fundamental, most basic level of discipleship. The abiding connection starts with our commitment to Him.
It's a call to discipleship.
Many turned away.
Only a few...willing to stay.
They followed and served.
That is the path before us. This is the path of the IronMen. It reminds me of a poem by John Oxenham, entitled The Way.
To every man there openeth
A way, and ways, and a Way,
And the high soul climbs the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A high way, and a low.
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.
(By John Oxenham: pen name for the English poet, William Dunkerley, 1852-1941)
God said something similar to the prophet Jeremiah:
"This is what the LORD says:
'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is,
and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls'..."
(Jeremiah 6:16, niv).
Brought to you by IronMen.