Have you and six of your friends ever gone on a bike ride.....on the same bike?? I have!
The marvel of modern engineering and an intelligent person designed a seven seater bicycle. My friend Doug calls it the octopus bike. At first glance, it looks unwieldy and unlikely to go anywhere. The main seat, with steering wheel, hydraulic braking system, and pedals is where navigation occurs. The other six seats form the circle and help supply the power to move.
This beast comes standard with car tires (spare tire donut tires) at front and back. It also has an intricate system of driveshafts, U-joints, and each set of pedals is a derailleur which means when one gets tired they simply stop pedaling (coast). Under the hood sits a....wait there is no hood. The bike is powered by a seven personpower engine. Long story short, we went for an almost 5 mile bike ride and had a ball!
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can
help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV)
The beauty of this 'octopus' bike is found in the ability for some pedalers to rest while others pick up the slack all the while a person steers and brakes the unit if necessary. Admittedly, when we were halfway through the ride, we stopped to rest and almost every one of us stepped gingerly off the bike and wobbled our way around. We weren't used to that kind of muscle activity!! Weekend warrior activities like this remind us how little we get exercise that strengthens our bodies. In case you're wondering, when we returned the bike, the same picture unfolded. Seven people looked like they had rubber poured into their legs... (I'm sure we looked a bit funny) An aside to this picture of weak-legged bike riders is found in a church community that doesn't practice regular events for spiritual development and maturation. Weak-legged Christians don't tend to offer a broken world much hope.
All in all, the bike ride was fun and it painted a picture of teamwork at it's finest. There were times when certain people who shall remain nameless would get a bit competitive and try to out pedal their son but other than that, the ride was pretty cool. That person soon realized how much they were out of shape. That person also realized the power of the group versus one lone pedaler.
This bicycle epitomizes the relationship we have as a faith community (church) with God. God sits in the driver's seat and we are an important part of the ride. God expects us to provide physical bodies to the mission and God navigates and exhorts us on. God expects us to provide energy and fervor for the tasks. If we get tired, others around us jump in and help us along the journey. Life will often make our legs fill like rubber, but that's alright. Steady times of exercising our faith in a community will strengthen us and make the 'rubbery' leg syndrome decrease over time.
Pause for a moment right now and thank God for the guidance He gives us. Thank God for the care He showers over us. Finally, thank God for the community of faith you are involved in and try to find ways to strengthen your walk today.