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
Peter, perhaps sanctimoniously, interjected, “We’ve
given up everything to follow You” (v.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” (vv.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.
What light does Luke 9:57 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?