When the power failed at an elementary school, cooks couldn't serve a hot meal, so at the last minute they whipped up tall stacks of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.
As the children were getting their trays, one little boy’s eyes lit up.
"It's about time!” he exclaimed. “We finally get a home-cooked meal!"
This youngster’s preference for a sandwich over a hot-cooked full meal illustrates something that often limits our lives. We tend to be so fond of the familiar that we forfeit the fantastic.
We even have a maxim that highlights the value of what we already have versus some pie-in-the-sky fantasy. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, right? Except what if it’s not? What if the two in the bush are worth 10 times the one scrawny bird in our hand? What if we settle for what is good when something glorious is within reach?
God wanted to lead his nation to a promised land flowing with prosperity. But, to get there, they had to leave where they were. It should have been easy. They were oppressed slaves, but the fondness for the familiar — even when it’s bad — is powerful. They often whined, “Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14: 3).
When Jesus called his first followers, he was offering them a key role in the kingdom of God — an opportunity to go from fishing to fishing for men. But, to get there, they had to leave here. Impressively, “they left the boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4: 22). Did you get that? These young men just left their jobs, their family, their home — all that was familiar — to embark into an unknown adventure. Not too surprisingly, when Jesus was crucified, they went back to what was familiar — fishing. Fortunately, Jesus called them again to leave the familiar for the fantastic.
What about us? Are we tempted to settle for an ordinary life? To settle for a marriage that’s pretty good. For a church that’s not too bad?
Jesus calls us to live life “to the full” (John 10: 10). “Everything is possible for him who believes,” he promises (Mark 9: 23). But, we can never get there, if we insist on staying here.
Dust settles. Eagles soar. Which would you rather be? One year from now, what will you wish you had left behind a year ago? Do that today.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williamd Road Church of Christ, Americus.