It was in men’s bathroom near the trailhead for Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park when I was hit with the profound revelation that we protect what we care about. It came as I studied the long metal arm holding three roles of toilet paper. The arm operated like a lever which was secured in the down position by a large brass pad lock. Never mind the fact that I could simply unroll the paper if I really wanted to steal it. The point is someone valued the toilet paper enough to take measures to protect it.
Not long after this I was watching Birth of the Dragon. It is a film loosely based on Bruce Lee at the beginning of his movie career and more specifically on a legendary fight between Lee and another martial artist by the name of Wong Jack-man. One of the movie’s subplots involves a young student of Lee’s who gains an interest learning from this other master. Wong challenges the student to go and find something he is willing to die for. Only then would he consider training the young man.
Both of these experiences reminded me of a quote from G.K. Chesterton which reads, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
If I value comfort, I will guard it. This means I won’t risk or advance in faith. If I value being right, I will protect it. This means I will cut people off who don’t agree with me and struggle to admit when I’m wrong. If I value gaining the world, I will fight for it. This means I may end up forfeiting my soul.
If I care about the kind of man I am becoming, I will receive correction. If I care about knowing the God who made me, I will set my mind to learning him. And if I care about the people within my reach, I will fight on their behalf and be willing to lay down my life so they may live.