A recent article in National Geographic Magazine published remarkable images of climbers as they scaled the sheer rock face of Yosemite’s 2,916- ft. (889 meters) El Capitan. Astonishingly, some of the climbers make portions of the ascent without safety ropes in a death-taunting exercise known as “free solo.” These guys literally live on the edge.
Some of the most hard-core climbers don’t seem to have much of a life beyond their pursuit of the next adrenaline rush. They feed their addiction to climbing with money gained from bottle returns and whatever additional means of support they can scrounge up. It’s amazing what you can sacrifice when you have a single focus.
We might call it madness, but Jesus challenges us to have a single focus that resembles this level of dedication. When a wealthy young man approached Him with the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17), Jesus put his finger on the one thing keeping the man from God. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21).
Peter, perhaps sanctimoniously, interjected, “We’ve given up everything to follow You” (Mark 10:28). Jesus replied, “Everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for My sake and for the good news, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution” (Mark 10:29-30).
Jesus’ challenge to us is to be as radically dedicated as a free-solo climber focused only on his climb. But we don’t do this solo. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit to help us each painstaking inch of the way (John 16:7,13). That’s real life—fulfilling and free—on the edge.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Joshua 3:1-17
What light does Luke 9:57-62 shed on today’s read>?
What causes some of us to push the limits of nature while the rest of us recoil in horror? What makes you feel alive? Why? How will you sharpen your focus on following Jesus this week?