At Ministry Days, one of the speakers told a great story. It is one that I have heard before, and I would like to share with you. In the nineteenth century the greatest tightrope walker in the world was a man named Charles Blondin. On June 30, 1859, he became the first man in history to walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls. Would you believe over twenty-five thousand people gathered to watch him walk 1,100 feet suspended 160 feet above the raging waters on a tiny rope? He didn’t even have a net nor any kind of safety harness. The slightest slip would mean his death. When he finally made it safely to the Canadian side, the crowd burst into a mighty roar of applause.
Blondin did not stop there. He would walk across the Falls many times. Once he walked across on stilts; another time he took a chair and a stove with him and sat down midway across, cooked an omelet, and ate it! Once he carried his manager across riding piggyback. And another time he pushed a wheelbarrow across loaded with 350 pounds of cement. On another occasion he asked the cheering spectators if they thought he could push a man across sitting in a wheelbarrow. The crowd cheered in approval. Seeing one man who was cheering loudly, Blondin asked, "Sir, do you think I could safely carry you across in this wheelbarrow?” The man replied, "Yes, of course!” "Get in,” the Great Blondin replied with a smile. The man refused.
This story is a brilliant example of the meaning of faith. We can stand beside God and cheer "Yes, Lord! You can do it! I believe in you!” Yet, when He asks us to get in the wheelbarrow, what will we say? Are we "all in”? Are we ready to give up being in charge and trust completely in the Lord to lead the way even though it may look dangerous and illogical? Do we believe in Him as the early Christians did? Are we ready to bet our lives on that belief? (It may be at this point we are crying out to Christ as the father of the poor child in the Gospel, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24).
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said to her sisters one day that "all we do is but a drop in the ocean, but if we don’t do it, that drop will be missing.” Are we ready to let God lead? It might seem that what we are called to do in our lives is not very spectacular. Maybe our job is ordinary, or perhaps we stay at home with our children and can get drained by the exhaustion of that job? Yet, if that is where God has called us, then we are to live out His love in that vocation. It may be just a drop, but it is an important drop!
Mother Teresa put it in another way; she said she was not a prophet or a messenger of Christ, nothing that special. She said she was merely the pencil of God, she does her work but it is God who has designed it. That is getting in God’s wheelbarrow. When we can let go of the need to control everything, let go of the need to be noticed, let go of the need to have the most likes on Facebook – when we let go of our will, that is when we can truly let God guide us!
It’s not always pretty. It’s not always easy. It might seem as scary as being pushed across a giant waterfall on a tightrope. Yet, with God’s will, we will find happiness. We will find peace. Let us try to find a way to become His pencil, to become an avenue for Him to make His love real to the world. The more I contemplate this, the more I pray to be able to live it and I embrace where God has placed me. (Now, knowing my personality, I think I might be more of a sparkly glitter pen than a pencil, but in God’s hand nonetheless!) Are you ready to be "all in”? Are you ready to live what you believe and climb in God’s wheelbarrow?
"No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him”! 1Cor 2:9