Have you ever considered that from a certain point of view, followers of Christ are pioneers?
Every time we turn around it seems, our Lord is asking us to do something new. Methodist circuit rider preachers back in the day probably never had one single day that was like the one before it.
So, to me it seems paradoxical to declare that we are followers of Christ yet we often remain frozen into habits, mindsets, traditions and routines that clearly bring about attitudes of complacency.
I ran across a quote by Walt Disney recently that opened my imagination.
Disney once said of his growing empire, “Around here we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we are curious; and, curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
I saw Disney studios first hand in Burbank, California last fall when Cheryl and I went to visit our son Cory. An entire town exists there today that was built by a little mouse named Mickey.
A mouse started the whole empire! And, Mickey is stamped on the sidewalks that ponderously stretch throughout this empire!
But, interestingly Walt Disney managed to pay homage to his early beginnings while at the same time he used Mickey as a platform to propel him into the future. And, still today Disney Studios continues to do new things as they appeal to new audiences with every passing generation.
According to Cory, Disney bought the Star Wars franchise recently and their first foray into this new territory was in making the movie Rogue One. It was a box office hit which has grossed over 500 million dollars so far.
What an evolutionary leap from a little mouse that showed up in a film clip called Steamboat Willie a little over eighty years ago.
Contrast this with a clergy pal of mine who was recently sent to a new appointment and had the audacity to remove a truckload of plastic flowers from the sanctuary and a pulpit that looked like a boat.
He said the pulpit was so big that he got lost in it every Sunday. Three members left the church.
Having a pioneering spirit in a church is not without its opposition. Even so, we cannot refute the fact that Christ is calling us to a wide-open, spacious life.
Walt Disney kept his cake and ate it too. As I mentioned, Mickey Mouse is present all over the Burbank studio empire. He’s even featured on the cafeteria trays.
Even so, around there they don’t look backwards for very long.
Maybe we too can have our cakes and eat them too. Maybe Christ is calling upon us to appreciate yesterday while at the same time not spend too long looking in that direction. After all, if we are not very careful we can trip over the future.
You and I are heirs of a people who left their homes to follow a cloud for forty years in the wilderness. God inspired a nomadic people to explore new territory every day. Even the tabernacle was a mobile church.
Individually, we are ceaselessly called to count the cost of present comfort versus the future reward. There will be risks. We will also stumble at times.
Even so, if we keep the faith God will anoint even the tiniest baby steps towards a new vision. The prophet Zechariah shares with us, “Do not despise these small beginnings…(Zechariah 4:10a NLT).”
I will leave you with another quote by Walt Disney that I dearly love, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible once in a while.”
Maybe today is a good day to claim that pioneering spirit! If we truly follow Christ, he will take us further than our imaginations can allow.