Throwing Your Life Away
Self-preservation and self-promotion seem rather natural. We know not to handle rattlesnakes, to shy away from lightening storms as they roll over the ridge, we wear helmets and appropriate body armor when descending a gnarly trail on a downhill mountain bike, flee from burning buildings, don safety harnesses and rope-up when climbing, and so on. Even on the most basic level we look out for ourselves ... we eat when we're hungry, brush our teeth to take care of them, and do our best to get adequate sleep every night. We go through great lengths on a daily basis without realizing it to simply ensure self-preservation.
Self-promotion is no different. In school we're taught to raise our hands to capture the attention of the teacher or professor to give us an opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions, in sports we clamor and work hard to break into the starting line-up and then strive excel when we get the platform, in art and music we seek to create works to excitedly share with the world, and the list goes on. We go through great lengths to "grow our personal brands" and in many ways it is quite normative.
Up until this point I am simply talking about what's "natural" and "normal." There's no talk of pride, self-absorption, ego, or even self-centeredness. What artist or musician doesn't want their work to be highly regarded and well-known? What athlete doesn't strive to be at the top of their respective sport? And when it comes to self-preservation we teach our children not to play in traffic or touch a hot stovetop and we always buckle our seatbelt when we hop in the car. But we do know that it is easy to cross the line into a life of self-centeredness, self-absorption, pride, and ego where we become the center of our own universe. We also know that self-preservation taken to an extreme leads us to lives of self-centeredness void of any sacrifice.
We also live in a society where many do sacrifice their bodies on a daily basis. Building bridges is not safe, mining has always been dangerous, police and military personnel literally lay their lives on the line every day, and firefighters run into burning buildings while we all run out of them. Single moms work 3 jobs and 70 hours a week to simply provide even though it is a detriment to their health and well-being. Medical doctors work long shifts fighting fatigue to save lives and perform surgeries.
One of the foundational premises or Intrepid is the realization of the need to at times forego self-preservation and even self-promotion to plant our lives in uncool and off-the-beaten-path kinds of places. Like firefighters we're advocating the need to run towards the very places where people are leaving. That could be old mining towns like Bisbee, Arizona or former logging communities like Oakridge, Oregon. These are also places ripe with opportunity and investment as many are transitioning into something new post-mine or post-mill closures. Not only a worthy place of investment when it comes to new business start-ups and non-profits but an investment of our very lives to live out and proclaim the gospel.
The good news is that Jesus calls us to be imitators of him. He came and he laid down his life on our behalf. He left it all, but what he gained was and is immeasurable. He also says, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matt. 10:39).
Where and how are you throwing your life away? Will you join us?