Bill and Sue grew up in a village where there were two kinds of people. Those who lived on the edge and those who chose to live away from the edge. The village was built close to a cliff and while the view was breath-taking, living on the edge of it was dangerous. Part of the danger included the occasional earthquakes endured by the residents. Some residents enjoyed the danger and chose to build their homes directly on the edge of the cliff. Others, including Richard and Jane’s parents, chose to live away from the edge in order to keep their families safe. The view from their homes was beautiful as well, including mountain views and fields of wild flowers.
While growing up Bill and Sue romped through the fields of wild flowers chasing butterflies, tasting rain drops and playing tag. But when they grew up and needed to choose a place of their own to build a home, Bill chose to build his home on the edge of the cliff. The danger excited him. Yes, he did know that occasionally a house would slip over the edge or someone would accidentally fall over the precipice, but he was sure it wouldn’t happen to him. Sue decided to build a home just a few houses down from her parents in the middle of the big field she had played in growing up. She felt safe and happy there.
The years passed by and while Sue played with her children in the wild flower meadows she had grown up in, Bill taught his children how to balance on the fence that separated his house from the precipice. He knew they could fall, but those living on the edge felt they needed to teach their children how to dwell on the edge. As more and more people chose to live on the edge of the cliff, people became almost immune to the announcements in the paper about the houses that slipped over the edge or the occasional adult or child who slipped and fell, never to be seen again.
After twenty years of living on the cliff and numerous earth quakes Richards home had slid several feet off of the cliff. Part of his living room with the huge bay window that overlooked the drop below now jutted out over the edge. Sue dropped by one day for a visit and her insides quivered when she saw how close Bill’s house was to falling off the edge, but when she mentioned it to Bill, he just laughed and assured her that he hadn’t fallen over the edge yet and neither had his family. Sue invited him and his family to her house the next day for a birthday party.
The following day at 2pm sharp Bill showed up to Sue’s house with his family for the party. He enjoyed catching up with old school chums he hadn’t seen in years. Just as everyone sat down to enjoy the cake and ice cream they felt the ground rumble beneath their feet. The party guests held onto each other as they watched the trees sway and heard the rumble of houses slipping over the edge. As soon as it was over a white-faced Bill told his family to stay at Sue’s house while he raced across town to check on their house. Thirty minutes passed while his family anxiously awaited Bill’s return. When they next saw him, he looked like a different man. Instead of the usual happy-go-lucky attitude his shoulders sagged and he looked more pale than when he had left if that was possible. He stepped through the doorway and fell into the closest chair. Everyone surrounded him to hear how bad the damage was this time. Bill managed to whisper that their house had survived but every other house had gone over the edge. Faced with the choice of continuing to live on the edge or living just down the block from his parents, the family unanimously agreed to move. The house still stands as a reminder of the freedom of choice.
The following day Bill wrote an article for the local newspaper entitled: “Living on the Edge”. In it he talked about how he saw life from a different perspective now. Every choice, whether to eat the cookies or exercise, or taking his family to church rather than watching cartoons, had consequences. He wrote that life wasn’t about how many cookies you could eat before you got a stomach ache or how little exercise he could get away with without gaining too much weight. He concluded his article with the thought that when living on the edge in any situation it’s not worth the risk of going over the edge.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might… Ecclesiastes 9:10