Our journey through life is filled with millions of steps.
Even though we live in an era of fast-moving vehicles, walking is still an important aspect of daily life. It’s generally thought that walking 10,000 steps a day is a positive way to help keep blood pressure down and heart disease at bay.
But walking is more than trying to stay healthy. Walking causes us to slow down and gives us time to reflect.
The Bible has a lot to say about ‘walking’. Generally, it’s used as a metaphor for life. ‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him’ (Psalm 128:1).
Read Psalm 1:1–6.
What does this psalm say to you about walking through life?
Note how verse 1 refers to the stagnation of those not walking with God – they start off walking, but soon are standing still until they end up sitting down.
What things in life have interrupted your walk with God and left you going nowhere?
Verse 6 mentions the ‘way’ of the righteous and the way of the wicked. ‘Way’ can also be translated as road or journey. The first followers of Jesus became known as ‘the Way’ (see Acts 9:2; 19:9,23).
My first assignment as a graduate pastor was as a missionary in Papua New Guinea. I had many opportunities to go on two-week ‘patrols’, trekking mountains and fording rivers in the highlands as I visited remote congregations. Sometimes those walks were fraught with danger, including fast-flowing rivers, slippery narrow log bridges, and drunken axe-wielding men in the dark of night. I never walked on my own.
When Jesus calls us to follow him, he’s calling us to walk life’s journey with him. And sometimes this journey can bring the unexpected.
Read Matthew 14:22–32.
What surprises do you see in this story?
How do you imagine Jesus looked as he ‘walked’ across the lake in the storm?
How do you imagine Peter looked as he ‘walked’, before and after noticing the wind and waves? (vv29,30)
On one mountain patrol in PNG, I was visiting a remote community that took a 12-hour walk to get there. This community of eight villages had no roads, no airstrip, no health centres and no schools. The nearest primary school was a six to eight-hour walk away, so students had to start walking in the middle of the night to be on time and board with another family during the week.
When Australian Lutheran World Service started Walk my Way several years ago raising money to help refugee children get an education, my heart went out for this cause. It was a ‘joy’ for me to walk 26km – as I did four times in 2019 – to raise money in support of these children.
Read Luke 24:13–33. What surprises you in this story?
How do you imagine Jesus looked as he ‘walked’ along the road with the two disciples?
How do you imagine the disciples looked, before and after they recognised Jesus?
Besides the surprise of recognising Jesus, the other surprising thing is that these two disciples immediately got up and ‘walked back’ (or did they run?) to Jerusalem; another 10 kilometres in the middle of the night!
What surprises have been part of your ‘walk’ with Jesus?
Was there a time when you found yourself able to walk further and for longer than you imagined, because of the joy that was associated with your walk?
Pastor Peter Hage serves St Johns Perth and is a former chair of the ALWS Board.