We were having dinner with several friends recently. The discussion centered around a particular venture in which several of us are involved. One of the fellows with us is a particularly pragmatic individual who analyzes every nuance of any movement or decision he makes – often to the point of seeming excruciatingly slow. As we discussed our plans, he was busy trying to find holes in our arguments. He refused to be easily convinced of the benefits of this endeavor. We playfully poked fun at him for being overly-analytical and joked that he should just jump out of the boat and walk on the waves. As we laughed together, another fellow looked at the foot dragger and said, “No one ever said faith was fun.”
Coulda heard a pin drop.
I had to think about that rather profound statement. Have I ever walked in faith and been able to say that it was actually fun? Walking in faith is walking into the unknown, the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable.
What about answering God’s call to be a missionary to an uncivilized tribe in the jungles of Africa? Stepping out of the boat in the middle of the sea as the storm churns the water and winds? Telling the king you will not bow down to him – but only to The One True God? What about tithing when there are more bills than money? Witnessing to that arrogant, foul-mouthed, agnostic co-worker? Any of these ventures sound like fun?
If it ain’t just a little bit scary, it probably doesn’t require faith.
God told Abraham to leave his homeland for an unknown land. God instructed Moses to go before Pharoah and demand the release of the Israelites. Joshua was promised the city of Jericho if the Israelites would march around the city walls, shout and blow their trumpets. Gideon went into battle against hundreds of thousands of Midianites with only three hundred men – and with trumpets, torches, and empty jars as their only weapons.
Each one of these men was probably labeled as crazy for their actions. And the scripture says nothing about them running ahead with the plan, all the while laughing, whooping it up and having a grand old time.
When I think of fun, none of these instances come to mind. Fun things are light-hearted, carefree activities. Fun takes no courage, commitment, or discipline. But acts of faith require all of these characteristics. Acts of faith are what books are written about – one particular Book comes to mind. Acts of faith warm our hearts and encourage us in our journey with Christ. Faith results in joy and peace.
Fun is momentary. Joy is eternal.
Look at Hebrews 12:2: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
His trip to Golgotha wasn’t fun. But He completed our faith for all eternity by allowing Himself to be crucified. For us. Why? Because our release from the clutches of Satan was the JOY that He had His eyes fixed upon. His JOY is eternal and He shares it with us.
You know what? I’ll bet that spending eternity in heaven with The Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be a little bit fun. What do you think?