You have heard it said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Life is a journey – often not a fast journey, but a slow daily walk. I say it is a walk with God. A walk with God also begins with a first step, but it always depends on the next step. Once the journey is underway, the next step is always the most important. The next step keeps us moving forward. Or it could be that the next step is scary or dangerous, and we stop moving forward.
I know people whose spiritual journey has ground to a halt for one reason or another.
Perhaps it was bitterness; someone said something and it just twisted us inside.
Perhaps it is the inability to forgive that has us hung up at a particular spot, stewing in the injustice and unfairness of it all.
Perhaps the stumbling block is a fear: fear of the future, fear that God won’t show up when we need Him or fear that what we most dread will come to pass.
Perhaps the fear is that we might lose some of what we’ve got, and then life will look and be different from how it is now.
Perhaps the block is simply comfort, that we have gotten so used to our present level of comfort that we don’t want to move from where we are, don’t want to grow, don’t want to move forward.
Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos is working through the Gospel of Luke, and in Chapter 7 there is a centurion who has taken many steps in his walk of faith. He has walked away from the Roman gods to embrace the God of the Jews. He has taken steps to help the local Jews build their synagogue, and they consider him to be a good guy. He has a slave, which was not unusual for that time, but he loved the slave, which was unusual. The slave was dying, and the centurion begged the Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal the servant. Jesus consents to come, but then the centurion sends a runner to Jesus saying that it isn’t necessary for Him to come, but just say the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus is amazed at the centurion’s faith, says the word, and the servant is healed.
For the centurion, there was this last step – that he care for others, someone besides himself. The calling of Christians to take another step forward in faith gradually becomes a calling to care for others, as Christ has taken care of our future. We don’t need to worry or focus on ourselves as much as love others, because we have been loved first.
The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.