Charles Blondin was famous for his incredible skill of crossing a tightrope stretched about 11,000 feet across the Niagara Falls, at 160 feet above the falls. Sometime in the 1860’s people from Canada and the United States would come to witness his amazing stunt. He crossed the tightrope several times that caught the people’s amusement and amazement. When he performed an exhibition, he would make each time unique and audacious like carry a sack, ride on a bicycle, walk in the dark, go blindfolded, and other daring stunts.
One time, Charles pushed a wheelbarrow containing a sack of potatoes. The crowd from both sides of the mighty falls was cheering in excitement and jitters. He walked carefully and precisely as one step was equally dangerous as the next. When he finally reached the other side, the crowd cheered in unison and applauded as if it was their own victory.
Charles paused and asked the crowd, “Do you think I can do the same – push the wheelbarrow across – with a person in it?”
“Of course! You are the greatest tightrope walker that ever lived! We believe in you!” Yelled the crowd.
Charles then asked for a volunteer, “Alright, who wants to get into the wheelbarrow?”
Nobody dared to volunteer.
There are two types of Christians; one who says he believes in Christ and keeps the faith by living the Word, and one who says he believes but does not dare to take part in the “action.”
The readings this Sunday invite us to reflect on what kind of Christians we are. In the gospel of St. Luke (Luke 12:35-40), Jesus exhorts us to be always prepared, and to remain faithful as we wait for the Lord’s return. In preparing, we are invited to “gird [your] loins and light [your] lamps.” In modern terms, this means that we are to roll up our sleeves and immerse in service as part of our mission as disciples. We are told to do this with consistence for we do not know the exact time when the Lord comes. Our unceasing service – that is keeping the lamp burning – is our ID that we are followers of Christ.
Meanwhile, we wait.
But why does God have to keep us waiting? We can come up with so many reasons but we can never fully understand His. However, one thing is absolute, God asks us to wait to mold us into someone who can best deliver His plan. He wants us to experience first hand the revelation of the ultimate plan designed for us.
It is not only you or me who experience being held in the ‘waiting room,’ even the major characters in the Bible were asked to wait for a long time before God revealed His grand plan. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and many others had to wait on God. And their waiting time was not merely in a matter of days or months, but for decades. While they waited in faith and patience, they became more dependent on God all through out. Indeed, waiting is a virtue. As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Hebrews, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
Christians who say they believe in Christ and live the faith are eager to welcome the Lord in his return. The waiting is filled with eagerness and much anticipation. They are all geared up in mind and spirit for when the Lord comes in unexpected time.
On the one side, Christians who say they believe in Christ but whose actions prove otherwise, dread the coming of the Lord likened to a theft experience. They consider the Lord’s return as damaging and a cause of much loss. They are able to wait however do not find meaning in waiting. They do not seem to see the purpose of life.
You and I, as followers of Christ, have a choice. As we wait for the revelation of God’s plan for us, we can choose to either be the follower who believes and keeps the faith by action, or the one who believes but does not take part in the mission and merely applauds the feats of Christ.
Father God, I am sorry for the times that I chose to stay as a mere fan of Jesus, applauding his victory against sin, but never really daring to do my part. My faith and trust in you falter because I am only a believer by label, not by action. Please forgive me. Today, I surrender to you all my fears and inhibitions. I lift up to you the distractions that keep me from taking part of my mission as a follower of Christ. Please send your Holy Spirit to grant me the wisdom and strength to fulfill this. Amen.