A man had studied skydiving, read every book, taken every written test. He wrote a dissertation, passed his orals, got a Ph.D. in skydiving. He began teaching Theory of Skydiving at a prestigious university. Eventually, he was awarded the esteemed Chair of Theoretical Skydiving.
One day at a coffee shop he met a soldier who had actually made a dozen jumps after a short period of study. After a few minutes, the professor decided the soldier was nice but a bit low-brow. He changed his mind about inviting him as a guest speaker in his Parachute Theory class. Years later, the professor retired after making ground-breaking contributions in the field of Skydiving Theory, hailed as among the most important theoreticians of skydiving in the modern age, never having actually made a jump himself but understanding the principle well. The soldier had saved lives on missions that involved jumps, and had learned skydiving from a different kind of instructor.
Hearing God's word is one thing, but doing it is the jump. Would you be more likely to jump yourself if your teacher was the soldier's teacher or the professor? Have our seminaries institutionalized a timid Christian life? Given that study is necessary, at what point does further study amount to hiding from the risks of a real jump?
Most Christians have made some small jumps. But the more I talk around, it seems that most of us have our eyes on one particular big jump that God has laid on our hearts. Lots of times, when we look at the big jump, we go back to the books, or pray for wisdom (which, we may secretly hope, means the wisdom to do something other than jump).
Praying for the courage to jump.