Order of Christian Knights

On Man's Need for Adventure

Sir Andrew Kesterson

"Every boy needs an adventure to live, a battle to fight, and a beauty to save" (Alan Watts)

All people have a purpose in God’s plan - whatever that may be. At some point in our lives, God will call us to adventure in service of that purpose, to fulfill our role in the grand quest of the human species. Adventure is a process of exploration, growth, transformation, and rebirth, wherein we dare to go into the unknown; to experience it; survive it and come out better than we were. God calls us to adventure to serve His purpose; and through the process of that service in that adventure, to mold and shape us into what He needs us to be.

We need this process; this call to adventure. Without it, we stagnate and fester in the same state we have always existed in, never reaching or even understanding our own potential. We must get out of our comfort zones and go do something we haven't done before, see something we haven't seen; in Genesis, God tells Abraham to "get out of your father's house and go to a place I will show you", because Abraham cannot become who he must if he is living in his father's shadow in the place he has always known. We must dare to try new things, and fail at them continually until we perfect them, so that we can develop new skills that will sustain us in our lives and to help us fulfill our role in God's plan. Theodore Roosevelt said "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, (...) who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Without this process, without daring to engage in adventure, we will never become who we can and must be; we will never find our people or our place; and we will never know the fullness of life that can be afforded to us. To ignore the necessity of adventure in our lives is to instead kill your spirit, and to trap it within mundanity until your body finally gives up the ghost. Rather, we must choose to allow adventure into our lives, for it is only in the pursuit and execution of adventure that our soul breathes free. Hellen Keller said “Life is either a grand adventure, or nothing”.

The adventure God calls us to may be humble, or it may be glorious. To be clear, we may not even want the adventure God is calling us to; the story of Jonah in the Bible is a good example of this. God called Jonah to prophecy to the city of Nineveh that its wickedness would bring destruction; but Jonah wished that the wicked city would be destroyed, so he attempted to avoid the adventure by fleeing on a ship. But God is not mocked or fooled; when we have been selected to do His will, there is no escape. Jonah learned this the hard way, and eventually submitted to God's will, and prophesied to Nineveh (and the city was indeed saved). Part of the adventure God had chosen for Jonah involved Jonah's own transformation through the storm, the belly of the fish, and ultimately the revelation underneath the withering vine. The frail nature of man desires for glory in their adventures; but the adventure is for the glory of God, and to fulfill His will. We desire to do righteous deeds, but we only want them according to our own understanding; God instructs us in righteousness, and through learning how to submit to and do His will, we are transformed by the adventure into something better than we were before we began.

Some will see adventure everywhere, in all things. There is a lens through which we can view the world that colors everything with childlike wonder, and through it we will see glory and adventure everywhere, even in mundane things. If we start referring to every day activities as "adventure", does that transform them into adventures, or do we simply delude ourselves? Delusion is not a healthy state in which to live one's life, and we can certainly create troubles for ourselves and others by living in delusion. So we must discern between truth and delusion, but it is true that we should appreciate our every day lives with a level of genuine intensity and find the adventure in it. Life itself is, indeed, its own form of grand quest to which we are called. 1 Corinthians 7:17 says "Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them." Every day we must battle and overcome our own sinful nature; we must help our brothers and sisters in Christ in their daily tribulations; we must go forth among men, preaching and baptizing them in the name of God; we must set good examples for our children and raise them up in the ways they ought to go, even in the face of the corruption of the world; we must maintain righteousness in the organization and execution of our own households; and remain strong men of God for our wives and church, loving everyone as He first loved us. Nevermind what grander adventures might lie in our actual vocation itself, or the lives of our families, or the future of our churches. To insist that adventure cannot be found in our lives, to deny the great and difficult adventure that is inherent in living a Godly life, is to refuse to accept that God is constantly at work in all things and that our very lives are a calling from God Himself.

Thus, our attention to living righteously day to day, and fully appreciating and pursuing the opportunities God gives us, creates the opportunity for grand adventures to enter into our lives. Otherwise, some will refuse to see genuine adventure when it is right in front of them, because it does not fit their expectations of what an adventure should be. The story of king Arthur's knights of the round table and the white hart is a good example of this. "A hart and a hound hardly constitutes an adventure", Sir Gawain proclaimed; he could not perceive glorious adventure springing from simple roots without an obvious earthly manifestation that looked like a call to adventure. He failed to recognise the significance of the events, and the strangeness surrounding them that hinted at something more. We must not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) but rather be as little children (Luke 18:17), retaining some of that childlike nature to be able to see the magic in the every day, to readily hear God's calling in our hearts. Otherwise life's greatest adventures will simply pass us by because we failed to see the forest for the trees.

But just because we hear God's calling, and we answer it readily, does not mean that we will be given any kind of safety or preservation. If Jonah had more readily answered the call, would he have avoided the danger at sea? Perhaps not. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11:26, said "I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers." Jesus himself shows that doing God's will is no guarantee of safety; God's will may, in fact, call for us to lay down our property, our prosperity, our very lives for others, for Him and His church. We are called first to love, and Jesus said in John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends". Our life is a gift from God, and we are but vessels and servants of His will. When we rise every day, and we make our hearts ready to hear God's call, and we prepare to do His will, we must be ready to sacrifice everything in the pursuit.

As Christian Knights specifically, we are called by God to serve His will through all manner of dangerous paths, to be men who live a life of not only righteous love and compassion, but also of blood and fire and steel. In Isaiah 1:17 we Knights are taught to "Learn to do right; Seek Justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; Plead the case of the widow." Again in Proverbs 31:8-9, we are admonished to "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." We know that dark clouds will gather before us to deter us from the path; we know our way will be rough and steep; that evil will lay snares and traps and will assail us from all sides. But our faith feeds our courage; Joshua 1:9 admonishes us "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go". We have no fear of overwhelming odds or unfair circumstance, for Romans 8:31 says "If God is for us, who can be against us?".  Yet we know how our adventure ends - Matthew 26:52 promises "All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword". But we have no fear of death; for we love our brothers and sisters as He first loved us, and we are prepared to lay down our lives for His church if that is His will. A righteous life makes us secure in our faith; 2 Timothy 4:7 comforts us, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith". We pray as Balaam did in Numbers 23:10, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!". And finally, Revelation 14:13 has a promise for the righteous who fall in His service. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on'. 'Blessed indeed', says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!'"

Everyone's adventure will be different. Not all of us are called to serve and grow in the same places, in the same ways, or at the same times. It is important that we live faithfully every day, keeping His commandments; that we remain open to hearing God's call in our hearts; and that we lean not on our own understanding, but trust in His will and plan for us. Psalm 84:5 says "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage". Choosing to live a life that is open to adventure - or even daring to seek it intentionally - brings us closer to God. And in 2 Corinthians 2:14, we are reminded to be thankful to God for the adventure to which we are called, and the grand purpose of it. "But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere."