One of the proverbs of life has been to be careful that you don’t bite off more than you can chew – don’t over run your headlights, look before you leap, better to be a big fish in a small pond … and many other wise sayings but I want to challenge you with the thought “How do you know how much you can chew if you don’t bite off more than you can chew?”
Biting off more than you can chew has six components. First, is the fearful component. Maybe if I only take a small bite I won’t fail. Second is the greed component – get all I can. Third is the ignorant component – grabbing the tiger by the tail without knowing what a tiger’s tail looks like? Fourth is a presumption component – I can handle this because I’m smarter and better than everyone else. Fifth is a common sense component. There are plenty of proverbs and scriptures that talk about a man going out to build a tower and running out of money. A good sound business approach; wisdom from the ages; guard what you have and be able to finish. And the sixth is the faith component. This is the toughest one because sometimes it looks like the first component, or the third or the fourth and the second too. Sometime we think it is really number five.
But! What if God asks you to bite off more than (you think) you can chew? Is that really YOU God? What is so bad about comfort zones? What is so bad about not adding undue stress and tension to my life? How do you distinguish “coasting” from “resting” in God?
The sixth component is a challenge because it comes in different sizes and shapes, different configurations and at different times. Sometimes the “more than you can chew” comes from outside (from God?) Sometimes the outside one is a little easier to handle because you may have had nothing to do with the choice or decision. Tornados, floods, earthquakes, illness, family problems, job loss etc. often all of those are bites bigger than we think we can chew but they come to us from outside.
However, it is the “more than we can chew” decisions that WE make that create a spiritual tension (and possibility for growth) in our lives. There will always be a tension between playing it safe, playing it “wise” or playing it by faith. Blessed are you when the voice of God rings out so absolutely clear that there is little doubt that “this is the way, walk in it.” Most of the time, it seems to be that gentle “whisper” that leads us forward. This is where faith is tested – when you begin something and that something winds up being “bigger than you can chew.” You don’t know that when you start. It usually is something simple – “Abraham leave Ur of the Chaldees and follow me.” “Joseph, I want you to rejoice in prison.” “Moses, I want you to redeem your people.” “David, I want you to be king.”
Our challenge of faith is when we make a decision (with a sure feeling that it is God who is leading) and we wind up in a huge mess – with more than we can chew! Was that really God who led me to …? You fill in the blank. We all have the experiences where something so sure and positive becomes more than we can chew. And maybe at that moment – overwhelmed – we cry out to God - like Peter, “Save me Lord.”
Maybe most of us are supposed to play our lives safe and wise. And we look at the adventurers – the more than they can chew people - and shake our heads. But if God calls you to the adventure – all the shaking of heads will not be a deterrent. Pioneers or settlers each play a God given role. Peter gets a bum rap about walking on water. It wasn’t thoughtless impetuousness because he did stop and ask, “Lord, if it is you bid me to come.” And Jesus said, “Come.” What an adventure! Did Peter bite off more than he could chew? Apparently! But what an experience to be saved by the very hand of God.
So today Jesus is still walking on the very waters of your life offering you opportunities for the grand adventure of ministry. And we call out to Him and say, “If it is You, bid us to come … and start a school, adopt a child, add a classroom, buy a new building, get married, start a new ministry, a training center or whatever it is that you are asking Him. And He says, “Come.” Are you biting off more than you can chew? Probably. But His hand is there to save you. Also remember Peter was the only disciple who ever got to walk on the water - because he asked.
Biting off more than you can chew for God is an adventure – a wonderful life changing adventure. And how much do you know you can chew until you bite off more than you can chew, so go ahead and bite - and enjoy the adventure.