Halfway is Not Enough


One of my favorite A. A. Milne poems concern’s Christopher Robin and stairs.  Perhaps you can identify:

Halfway down the stairs

Image: E. Shepard / betterlivingthroughbeowolf.com

Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t
Any other stair
Quite like it.
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
so this is the stair
Where I always stop.
Halfway up the stairs
Isn’t up
And it isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in the town
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head
It isn’t really anywhere,
It’s somewhere else instead.

Maybe the reason we so readily identify with Christopher Robin is because, we like the middle step of indecision.  Do I accept this job offer or wait for a better one?  Do I go to this party; what will people think if I skip; what will they think if I go?  What do I wear today? Should I commit to this or not?  Should I follow God or live for self?

That last question is an old one.  One every individual must make.  Moses told the people, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose . . .” (Dt 30:19).  Joshua challenged the people of Israel, “Choose this day who you will serve . . . ” (Josh 24:15).

We do not want to choose.  We want to stop halfway.  “God, I will serve you as long as it is convenient.”  Or, “Jesus, I will follow you where I want to go.”  This is only following Jesus halfway, and as Christopher Robin says, “(That) isn’t really anywhere, It’s somewhere else instead.”  Halfway is not enough.  Jesus throws down the gauntlet in challenge, “He who is not with me is against me . . .” (Mt 12:20).  Which will it be?

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