Raymond was the foreman for the County’s maintenance crew and our neighbor. He was able to get me a job one summer working on road repair. The task was to rebuild the gravel sides of the roads that had eroded. My job was to drive a farm tractor that pulled a packer behind Raymond, who was throwing up dirt and gravel alongside the edges of the roads with a road grader. The packer was a huge container filled with concrete and with multiple wheels of rubber. It was scary, stressful work for anyone, let alone a 17-year-old rookie. One had to drive slowly, but still not stall the motor of the tractor. If the packer started to slide down the slope, it could turn over and injure or even kill the operator. I had to stop several times and have Raymond tow me out of danger. He was very patient, probably because he had done the same job many times and understood working on the edge constantly, and also because he had grown sons who may have done the same risky job.
Whether one is a babe in Christ or a life-long Christian, many times there will be situations of trying to live on the edge. Our task is to walk the narrow road (Mt 13-14) without straying and tipping over. With the packer, one had to keep their eyes on what was ahead and not look back. On our spiritual road we have to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2) and press on towards the goal (Php 3:14).
Some of the many risks of the County job were boredom, complacency and overconfidence. The same impediments can distract the Christian in his/her journey down the narrow road. As Raymond was so patient with me, God is patient with people, not wanting anyone to perish 2 Pe 3:9). He will never forsake us (Heb 13:5) and Jesus said that we can cast all our cares and burdens on Him (1 Pe 5:7). If we become bored, complacent or over-confident, we should take heed that we don’t fall off the edge (1 Cor 10:12) and press on to the prize (Php 3:14). When we are on the edge and anxious about falling spiritually, God has the solution, “…in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Php 4:6)