My middle daughter was reading to my youngest yesterday as we traveled in the car to a wedding yesterday. She was reading the first in a series of books by Erin Hunter about cats that my two oldest have been reading for quite some time. In this book, Rusty, a house cat, had wondered into the woods and met some wild cats. They ask him to join them as they need more warriors to fight off some other cat clans. When explaining the decision, the wildcat named Lionheart says, “You must either live with us and respect our ways, or return to your Twolegplace and never come back. You cannot live with a paw in each world.”
Lionheart’s speech sounds almost Christian doesn’t it? Or does it? Certainly this idea of not going back reminds me of Jesus’ words in Luke 9 where he says that one who looks back after putting his hand to the plow is not fit for the kingdom. So in this sense, Lionheart is correct. We are Christian, or we are not—no playing both sides against the middle. Yet in another sense, Lionheart is wrong. For Jesus also said in John 17 that we are not of the world but that he doesn’t want the Father to take the disciples out of the world.
So while becoming a Christian does require a changed mindset about allegiances, it does not mean divorcing oneself from any involvement with the world. We are called to be God’s representatives to the world, and that can’t happen apart from daily interaction with the world. Make no mistake, though. We who call ourselves Christian have changed sides. Like Rusty, no longer should the warm bed and plentiful food call us back to our old way of life, no matter how difficult the road that follows Christ seems to become. What about you? Do you try to live with a paw in both in each world?