I went skiing last week in Colorado. Before you get too impressed, let me tell you that I chose to ski one day out of four. My sister, Dana, had the bright idea that after two times down the bunny slope that I was ready for a slope that I later learned was "almost blue" -- something a ski instructor told me when I was struggling to stand again on one of the steepest parts of the slope when it was too late to do anything but try to get down with both skis on my feet!
The one thing that amazed me last week was how many people I saw being taken down the mountain on a stretcher with skis. There were three different people hurt in a matter of moments -- three different people who were unable to ski down the mountain on their own. When I saw these people, I returned home to check the agreement I signed when getting my skis. It reads:
"I understand and am aware that skiing/snowboarding is a HAZARDOUS activity. I understand that the sport of skiing/snowboarding and the use of this equipment involves a risk of personal injury to any and all parts of my body. I hereby agree to freely and expressly assume and accept any and all risks of injury or death to the user of this equipment while skiing/snowboarding."
I signed my name, paid The Sports Authority store $29.98 for the use of the equipment, and returned to Keystone where I paid $70 for a lift ticket. I spent $100 a day, along with hundreds of other people, on something that was HAZARDOUS. I spent $100 a day, along with hundreds of other people, on something that made my ankles hurt. I spent $100 a day, along with hundreds of other people, on something that could have killed me.
I keep wondering what the agreement would look like if we signed something on the day we decided to follow Christ. The more I understand the Gospel, the more I realize how Jesus also calls us to do something that is a little hazardous. He sends us out like sheep in the midst of wolves. He tells us to take nothing for our journeys. He commands us to shake the dust from our feet if we find ourselves in a place where we are not welcome. He tells us to lift high the cross -- something on which he was crucified. He asks that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He calls us to live a life that stands in stark contrast to the ways of this world.
He risked everything for us -- including his life.
I took the risk of skiing. It was filled with a few thrills and a lot of fear. Still, I'll try it again when I return to Colorado next year.
Now, if I can just take more risks when it comes to following Christ.