Humbled Pilgrims

The driving conditions are treacherous.  The weather is hazardous.  The office is open.  I must make an effort.

Chemically wet roads.  Black ice.  Falling snow.  Cold weather.  The combination makes the dark morning even more ominous.  And it’s Monday.

Snow trucks are plowing the roads.  Drivers must be cautious.  The going is slow.  Some drivers are overly cautious.  Going 25 miles per hour under the speed limit.  All cars behind the slow leader are anxious.  Knowing they need to go slow.  But also knowing that too much caution causes others to take unnecessary chances.  Who is to blame?  Mother Nature?  It is winter.  After all.

Use caution on overhead bridges.  We’re told.  Slow down going around tight curves.  Watch the tire pressure.  Make sure the windshield is clear.  Pay close attention to other drivers.  Have food and water in the car.  Pack blankets.  All good advice.

The storm passes.  Days go by.  The big one is coming.  Snowpocalypse.  They’re calling it.  Snowmageddon.  How bad will it be?   How much snow will fall?  Will ice be packed under the snow?  Do we hunker down and wait it out?  Or do we venture out?  Stay home unless you have to go out.  That’s what we’re told.


Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.  Hebrews 2:12-14


We’re all travelling the road of life.  Some of us have been travelling it for oh so many years.  Many others are just a few short years into the journey.  It is a series of treacherous paths.  Oh.  Not all paths are hazardous, but many are.  One wrong turn.  One bad decision.  One poorly timed word.  One distraction.  It can throw life into a whirlwind of unexpected events and consequences.  Possibly never going back to what we knew as normal.

I think of King David.  Man of God. Loved by his people.  He caught a glimpse of a married woman bathing in private.  The glimpse turned to lust.  Her husband was off to war.  He would never know.  So David claimed her as his own.  She became pregnant.  The husband, a great warrior, was killed on the front lines. God brought judgment.  The baby died.  David repented.  God forgave and restored.

I think of another man who made a private decision to sin.  The result became very public.  When asked about it.  And he was always asked.  He had to tell what he had done.  He had to admit that the private act caused a public display.  As he would tell the story, it would become obvious what he had done.  That he had sinned.  He was sorry.  He was repentant.  He was humiliated.  This one act impacted him for the rest of his life.

Sin is deceitful.  It looks attractive.  It sounds beautiful.  It tastes good.  It feels good.  Until it’s over.  Until the deed is done.  Until the word is said.  Then the truth comes out.  Feelings of being used.  Feelings of regret.  Feeling ugly and unloved.  Feeling that the world will learn or see what you’ve done and will no longer accept you.  It’s hard to accept yourself.  How will others see you?

We pilgrims walk this road called life.  We must pay close attention.  Use caution.  Think things through.  We must be on guard and not get caught up in sin.  We must walk the slippery road with the guide book in hand.  We must study that guide book to know the way we should take.  It will direct us down the right path.  The path to eternal life.

 

 

 

Go for the Gold

Winter Olympics.  Hockey.  Figure skating.  Skiing.  Ice dancing.  Speed skating.  Short track speed skating.  Luge.  Bobsled.  Curling.  Cross country skiing.  Ski jump.  Snowboarding.  Just some of the sports we’ll watch.  There will be gold medals handed out.  New idols will be crowned.  New heroes in the making.

The athletes. They each train in their sport. Working to master the art of athleticism. They each have chosen one sport to excel in. To best the best. To be crowned.  To be awarded the gold medal.

They work hard. Practice religiously. They sacrifice. More than most would even dare.  They stretch themselves.  Going beyond comfort.  Just to be the best.  They may only get one shot at the gold.  They need to make the most of it.

Mistakes will be made.  Mishaps.  Nerves will get the best of some athletes.  Some expected to win will not.  New champions will be crowned.  They will stand tall, right hand over the heart.  Listening.  Listening to their national anthem.  The flag is lowered.  In honor of their win.  In honor of their hard work.  In honor of their sacrifice.  In honor of their gold medal.  All nations will applaud.

They get nervous. They make mistakes. Their muscles stiffen. They suffer injuries. All for the sport.  All for the dream of wearing the gold around their neck.

Some will be cocky.  They just know they’ll earn a spot on the team.  They just know they’ll win the gold.  They may not work as hard as they should, because their self confidence has already crowned them winner.  They could be brought down quickly.  They may miss the goal.  They may fall down the mountain.  There could be someone better.  A new champion in the mix.  Waiting for their moment to shine.

Some are humble.  They do the work.  They’ve put in the hours.  They’ve listened to their coach.  They own the sport.  But they don’t announce it to the world.  They let their work speak for itself.  If it’s their time to shine, they will.  If their skills need more sharpening, they will do the work.  The struggle to grow stronger and perform better is real.  They think they could do more.


I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Philippians 3:14


We’re all in training. We’re training for a spiritual prize. The top prize.  Heaven.  Heaven is the gold medal we’re training for.  Everyone should want it.  Second place is disastrous.

There is a workout plan that’s available for everyone.  Those who choose to accept it and follow it will receive that top prize.  There won’t be only one gold medal given.  Anyone who is anyone can receive it.

No.  It’s not a participation medal.  The medal must be won.  Fair and square.  Hard work.  Conditioning.  Sacrifice.  Suffering.  Hardships.  Setbacks.  Successes.  Growth.  Rewards.  All are part of the plan.  Given in different measures to each athlete working for the prize.

We’re racing toward eternity.  People.  Whether we know it or not.  Whether we like it or not.  Everyone will come face to face with eternity when they cross the finish line.  At our last breath, we will come face to face with God Himself.  He will judge each and every one of us.

I want that top prize.  I want the gold medal.  I want to spend eternity in heaven.  I hope you do, too.

If you haven’t made the decision to join the race for eternity, this link will tell you how you can join.