A Lesson on Discipleship from the Ski Hill

For most of my life I have be involved with various extreme sports.  If there is something I love it is to go fast.  Whether it has been mountain biking, snowboarding, four wheeling, or being on my motorbike, there is an personal enjoyment in going fast.  This had led to a few injuries in my life, but I wouldn’t take them back.  However, as I have gotten older it seems I take fewer risks.  We do gain some wisdom as we age from life’s lessons.

Sometimes we learn more in a moment than through months of reading, classes, or sessions.  Last winter I had one of those unexpected moments where God spoke something into my life through my own children.

My youngest, Amanda, decided that it was time she learned how to snowboard.  I had been taking her older brothers for years and now she wanted to join in.  What you need to know though is that snowboarding has been a passion of mine for twenty years.  I started skateboarding when I was seventeen.  Then two years later started snowboarding and have never quit.  There are few things as enjoyable in life, to me, as carving down a mountain as high speeds.  I think I was made to go fast.

If there is something that annoys me and even drives me crazy it is going slow.  When I come up behind a car going below the speed limit I admit I wonder, ‘what is wrong with this person?’  I was never made to stay still.  The thought of maintaining even in ministry is offensive.

The first five days I took Amanda snowboarding it was painful.  For her because she kept falling, for me because I never got to snowboard.  I mean I was on one, but I never once got to go fast, I never once enjoyed the speed.  Instead every ten feet I would pick her up, give her some instructions, a push, and waited for her to fall again.

On this particular day I was sitting in the snow waiting for Amanda to catch up.   We were on the trail right beside the snowboard park.   I was watching different young people go over the jumps and sliding on the rails.   As I was watching my middle son Jordan come through the crowd, went over a jump, and was gone from view as quickly as he had come.  He was going fast.

It was in this moment a realization of a deep truth hit me.  There were years earlier that I hardly had a chance to go fast and snowboard either.  It was the years when I was teaching my boys how to snowboard.  Now here I was sitting on a hill seeing him fly by me just as fast as I could go.   Today, we all get to the bottom in a reasonable amount of time, and only falling occasionally.  Today we can all go fast.  If I had never slowed down though I would have been the only one going fast.  I would get to the bottom, but I would be all alone, with my children watching from the sidelines.

Discipleship sometimes means slowing down.

From ‘Before They Say Goodbye’

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