A tightrope walker never looks down. If that happens, the focus is redirected, the attention span may falter and falling may happen. A good tightrope walker concentrates and focuses on reaching the landing platform at the other end and this is what we must do if we are going to win.
You are still you. You still have to live out your life, be it a wife and mother, a student, a carpenter or whatever, but now God is walking with you. What really excites me is that we have others who can join us on our journey and they should assist us on the way. In line with the theme of this story, they can help us maintain our balance, take us by the hand and do what they can as we all walk along our journey. Loners are usually losers.
You may have seen pictures of tightrope walkers who seem to be looking down and think that this contradicts what I said about focusing the vision on the objective. This is not negating my earlier comments at all. That look more at their feet on the rope,the rope itself and the distant end, not down below them.
May I suggest that this indicates how we are to assess our footsteps; to ensure that we are placing our feet in the right position in the right way in measured steps and not just doing any old thing, hoping it will turn out well.
A good tightrope walker practices! He or she may start off by laying a piece of rope on the ground, learn how to walk and practice extensively, before trying to achieve some great feat like crossing Niagara Falls. This tells me that we must practice our walk with God to perfect ourselves.
A good tightrope walker has support. Someone had to stretch the rope being traversed from one end of the rope to the other. You only see the man in our banner picture, but others were involved. There was a team effort and this is indicative of how we should function in the church.
Paul taught on this saying that everyone of us has gifts and talents that may differ from each other.
We see this in Romans chapter twelve, first Corinthians chapters twelve to fourteen and in Ephesians chapter four.
In the first three chapters of First Corinthians, Paul shows that we are all to be co-workers with God, complementing (not competing) with each other, pooling our differing abilities that God gave us, so that the purposes of God will be achieved. He said that one man could prepare the soil, someone follows and plants a seed, someone else does the fertilizing, another waters whilst someone else reaps the harvest...but God gives the increase. That’s teamwork, but, unfortunately, it rarely happens.
Jesus had been given a vision or a task and went about it, but He also needed help so He trained groups of followers and sent them out on assignments.
The church should learn to do likewise, because more often than not, it is not really doing that.
People who have not been called by God, equipped by God and ordained by God are trying to do things that they just cannot do. God-given gifts and talents, callings, ministry gifts, helpers are more often than not being ignored. As a result, the church body as a whole suffers and non-Christians see it. In a negative sense, they are walking a tightrope without the Holy Ghost support that locks the ends of the rope onto secure foundations.
Many people get hurt in life and become introverted. They withdraw from the very support that God has provided in a genuine Church, because someone else failed them, betrayed them, or simply just did not know better! They quit going to church because they do not trust anyone any longer. They may have had a failed relationship and do not trust another person romantically, and get bitter and resentful. Not all people are like the one we once knew and thought we loved, but a man can become so warped that he hates women or women become man haters. The focus is in the wrong direction and, as it is with that tightrope walker, a fall is a likely outcome.
Our walk with God is a personal one. You must run the race set before you. I cannot do it for you. Neither can you do it for me. In a manner of speaking therefore, we are all alone out there on the rope—but we are not alone. Even if that rope is jumping around like a bucking bronco, God can make it seem as if you are standing on solid rock, because He is with us.
The Lord said that He would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
I’d like to show you something now about fulfilling our assignments. If He bids you to go somewhere or do a certain thing, He intends for it to happen. What we need to do is to follow instructions and obey! Sometimes it can get a little bumpy out there when we fulfill that assignment. He made no guarantee that we would be received well. In fact if we are truly sent by the Lord and that is the qualifier...He has to send us...we will often be rejected. His answer to that is to brush the dust off our feet as a witness and what may surprise you is that opposition like that usually comes from religious folk!
He had sent His disciples on an assignment that was at Bethsaida on the other side of the ocean.
It could just as easily have been the chasm beneath the tightrope.
According to Mark 6:48, He had no intention of stopping and was walking right past them but He was not abandoning them. He had sent His word, telling them that they would meet each other on the distant shore. He too had an assignment and from His perspective, it was a done deal. We have to learn that. When Peter called out as he did, Jesus stopped!
Here is your assurance that He intends for you to reach the other side—provided that He has sent you. There are what I call “went ones” and “sent ones”. Please learn to tell the difference. Went ones don’t have it! Sent ones do. Went ones depend on their own resources or use others whilst sent ones have access to His. Went ones do not like the sent ones because they know inside that they do not have it and are jealous, or do not want to be shown up for what they are.
We have entered into the era when God is sorting sheep from sheep, not sheep from goats.
He stops for His sheep and stopped for Peter. In fact He was so close that He reached out His hand, not his arm. If you are on a tightrope on His assignment, He is there! If it gets a bit wobbly and you seem to be losing your balance, He is there.
If it is safe and secure, He is there. He never changes.
Sometimes we must take appropriate steps ourselves, like checking the word of God for ourselves; getting input by the leading of the Holy Spirit and doing what He says.
According to Romans 8:14 we are God’s sons if we are being led.
It makes me wonder where we stand if we do not allow ourselves to be so led. That’s something to ponder over. Isaiah 30:19-21 says something very interesting-
...For the people shall dwell in Tsiyon at Yerushalayim, you shall weep no more. He shall show much favour to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears, He shall answer you. Though יהוה gave you bread of adversity and water of affliction, your Teacher shall no longer be hidden. But your eyes shall see your Teacher, and your ears hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the Way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right, or whenever you turn to the left.
What had happened here is that God’s people had started to place more trust and confidence in the world system (Egypt), not treating God’s word properly and did not want to hear words of truth from the prophets. These things are slowly invading the church of today.
God did however say that if His people repented and started calling out to Him, the ones who taught truth (not the popular things that pleased itchy ears) that had been hidden, He would be seen again. Perhaps this is the ministry of John the Baptist and modern day prophets like him, calling God’s people, not the heathen to repentance as a prelude to the coming of Jesus.
God’s people would then hear that voice, whilst they are treading on the tightrope, whilst they are going about their respective assignments, whilst they are rowing in the boat with Peter. The key is focus.
We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
The focus is not on the local church, the worship, the prayer meetings, the men’s fellowship and women’s meetings, the midweek meetings, tea and coffee after service or those “up front”. They might be good and acceptable and achieve certain things, but not really focusing on the person of Jesus who never changes and is always there. Men can and do fail us. Programs come and go and can change like the weather or the current fad and fashion.
In a rapidly changing world, we need the stability that God alone can offer. We need each other as well. We need those around us who trust us and whom we can trust. We need the people who lead us to be qualified to do so. We need to return to the basics. We need to have a workable, practical and realistic goal that the Holy Spirit gave us. The image at the bottom of page four depicts how we can and should all be inter-dependent on each other. When someone in the Body of Christ is suffering, we all suffer. When someone is hurting we should all pour in the oil and wine of compassion, rather than criticizing and ostracize them. Many churches shoot their wounded, but we should bind up the wounds and get them back on the road to recovery.
Every one of us out on the tightrope of life or ministry really needs each other. We can help each other to be balanced, help point out the end of the rope, help pull the other up when they look like faltering, encourage each other and even if we are not in the limelight so to speak, be there to help those who are. We are all surrounded by that cloud of witnesses.
In conclusion, I will leave you with this thought about finding your way-
Here is what Adonai says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask about the ancient paths, ‘Which one is the good way?’