As I ride around Munich for my work I get to enjoy the architecture, landscape and art. Probably my favourite piece is this sculpture on the corner of Prinzregentenstraße and Seitzstraße, across the road from Haus der Kunst and the Englischer Garten surfers.
I always see myself as the small child standing on the shoulder of the man who appears to be a traveller or a shepherd. Sometimes I reflect that it is on the caring shoulder of Jesus that I stand, and it reminds me that he walks the journey with us, that he is our strength and protection, and gives us a grand view of the adventure, like a father taking a small child on a hike.
But more often I think of the saying, ‘Standing on the shoulders of giants’ and that, even though my Christian walk and mission is one that is very much in its infancy, I have the privilege of a high perspective and millennia of experience because of all those that have walked the path before me.
- I think first of my parents, grandparents and great grandparents – of their own lives of service to Christ and of the prayers said for us each day.
- Then I think of those who have known me and pastored me and loved me at different stages and in different places – of the inspiring examples set and of the passionate care they have expressed.
- Then I think of contemporary heroes of the Christian faith whose stories I can relate to yet who were trailblazers for Christian mission in these crazy and confusing decades and centuries that we live in.
- And finally, I think of the early church apostles – of their obedience to God even though there was little practical evidence that the mission they were about could ever succeed. I have the privilege of observing more than 2000 years of fruit of the work of the church yet they just had a few years of persecution to encourage them! I think of the amazing verse from the book of Hebrews:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.Hebrews 12:1-2
Sometimes as I ride around I can feel that the work we are attempting is so insignificant, and sometimes it feels so futile. Yet I know that I can fix my eyes on Christ and keep running this race, knowing that I am standing on the shoulders of countless giants who have paved the way for us to be where we are today and that there comes another generation that will stand maybe a little higher also because of the work that we, by the grace of God, will have accomplished.