Monday, September 17, 2007

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day

In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson

This unusual title comes from a Bible verse in 2 Samuel 23:20-21 which says, "There was also Beniah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heoic deeds, which included killing two of Moab's mightiest warriors. Another time he chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. Another time, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with it."

So basically, Beniah was the freaking man. He was the type of guy you'd want on your side going into battle. He became the head of the bodygaurd for King David and eventually became the comander of the army of Israel under King Solomon.

The book is based around this passage and goes on to expand and describe how seemingly difficult circumstances which one might initially shy away from or avoid can turn out for great good if faced head on.

Batterson describes a number of modern day lion chasers whom he has known such as a Georgetown lawyer who stopped practicing law to make a film about human trafficking in Uganda, a tenured professor who quit his post and started a dot com company, a college graduate who moved to the Marshall Islands to teach English, and an executive at Microsoft who gave up millions of dollars in stock options to start a church. Batterson himself is a lion chaser in that he moved to Washington D.C. to plant a church in the heart of D.C. on Capitol Hill which meets at a movie theatre in Union Station.

There are all kinds of logical reason not to do certain things but sometimes we need to have some guts and just go for it. God doesn't call us to a life of mediocrity but wants great things to happen through His work in us. Many times these things don't seem to make sense in our finite understanding but God is working so that He will be glorified if we're willing to step out in faith.

A great scene from the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" illustrates this concept as well. Jones is faced with a great chasm which is impossible to jump across but realizes it is a step of faith. When he takes a step out into thin air despite what his eyes see in the great depth below, he then finds firm ground and is able to walk across the chasm.

Of course there are times to be practical and follow common sense as well. One should not simply jump into something just because it sounds fun or exciting. It should be thought out and prayed about. God has a tendency to confirm direction towards lion chasing opportunities.

A quality quote from Mark Twain also illustrates this mentality. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Throughout the book Batterson helps motivate the reader and give them the chutzpah to go tackle tough tasks and chase lions. I recommend it for anyone who might be hestitating about something in life or who needs a little extra encouragement in seeking out and going after goals in life.

This review is also viewable at Amazon.

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