A lot has changed there. The man who bought the place has torn down the old farm house in which I grew up. He has now replaced it with a nice new one. The driveway is also now paved. A few fences have been added and/or rearranged here and there. But by and large, it is still recognizable as the old farm it was years ago.
Most of the original barns and storage buildings still stand. One, however, is now missing. As a child, it was my favorite. This was because it was the one where all the vehicles were kept, including the trucks and tractors. I used to love to tinker with my dad’s tools and pretend like I was an engineer working on a rocket ship bound for Mars or some similar place. I would also spend hours on end (or so it seems) sitting at the wheel of an old Farmall tractor and pretending I was driving a race car at the nearest NASCAR track.
Another fond memory I had of that building was the loft. I would climb all over the upper part of that building. It was my own personal combination jungle gym and secret spy headquarters. I can only assume that my father and mother never quite caught on to that because one particular year, sometime around late October or early November, I was climbing in the rafters and discovered two brand new bicycles, still in the boxes.
One was a girl’s bike, obviously intended for my sister, and one was a boy’s bike, just at obviously meant for me. I was so excited. I was getting my very own ten-speed bicycle!(They were all the rage at the time.) With great effort, I managed to contain my excitement for the next few weeks, even though time seemed to drag by at a snail's pace.
When Christmas day finally did come, I managed to act convincingly surprised; but inside, I simply could not wait to get outside and ride my new prize. Having done so, however, I soon discovered that this thing was no toy. It was unlike any other bike I had ever owned. It actually had gears. In fact, it had two levers of gears. The one on the left controlled gears one through five. The one on the right controlled gears six through ten.
In short order, I decided that neither extreme on the range of gears was good for riding. First or second gear would likely mean peddling like crazy and hardly getting anywhere. By the same token, once I got much beyond fifth or sixth gear, it was awfully hard peddling. This was especially true of gears eight through ten, which were outright torturous on my legs.
So what was my solution to this dilemma? It was simple. I decided just to ignore all the gears except three through five. I just pretended the other gears did not exist and never again attempted to use them. Instead, I decided just to ride around looking cool; and to do it with the least amount of effort and discomfort as needed. Besides, who would be the wiser?
But I knew in my heart the answer to that question. It was me who would be the wiser. I was dogged in my conscience because I instinctively knew that I had taken the easy route, largely because I did not want to exert myself. In doing so, however, I was not utilizing the true potential built into my new bike. Ultimately, I was cheating myself! And deep down inside, I knew it!
I trust you see the point of my little story. As 2013 dawns, why not try shifting out of your own particular comfort zone? Why not try using a gear or two that you know you have been given, yet you habitually never utilize? Sure, it may be a little uncomfortable. It may require a little bit of effort.
But you might just be surprised at how much more effective you are as you make use of your God-given talent and skills. And who knows? You might even enjoy the change of pace!
Either way, as you do, let your motto be that of Isaiah 43:19 (HCSB): “Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?” For no doubt you will see it. As will others. Especially God. For it is He Who has promised to honor all those who boldly step out in faith and claim the future He has for them.