Summer is the time for travel: to beaches; to ballgames; to the mountains; or just simply wandering along the back roads of Georgia and taking in the sites. Summer, in other words, is the time for road trips! Have you ever been on an honest-to-goodness road trip; eating at questionable diners; stopping at shady gas stations because you just cannot go any further; all the while foregoing a map? (who asks for directions anyway?)
With that in mind I am going to focus for the next four weeks on a road trip. The Christian faith – or taking a road trip with Jesus – is as much a reminder that the journey is the point. The destination is just a result of the journey.
How do you travel on the road when covering a long distance? Most of us seek out the quickest way possible, which probably includes interstates and major highways. Taking side roads and driving through small towns is usually avoided. I do not wish to pick a fight with the DOT, but for the most part I do not care for all these by-passes that have been built around many of America’s small towns. These bypasses take the traveler around a town, instead of through it. I realize it saves time and it perhaps reduces unwanted traffic through a town, but think of all the traveler is missing when they choose to take a bypass. They never get to see the mom & pop stores, or the turn of the century architecture, or the sheer character that every small town holds.
For most of us it is all about the destination: to get there as quick and painless as possible.
One of the many reasons Christianity is criticized is that it can be seen as only concerned with getting to our “final destination.” I certainly do not have a problem with heaven and look forward to it when my time on earth comes to a close, but I am reminded of an old story of an evangelist preaching a revival. It was one of those hell-fire, damnation type sermons and the preacher asked folks in the congregation to raise their hands if they wanted to see those “pearly gates.” Everyone in church raised their hands except for one old codger. The preacher looked him in the eye and said, “Brother Bill, don’t you want to go to heaven?” to which brother Bill replied, “Sure I want to go, but the way you put the question, I figured you were getting up a busload for tonight!”
How we journey in this world is the point. The destination is the result of that journey. Mark Twain once quipped: Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
Jesus said the way you get to heaven is you follow him on earth. We will do just than by following Jesus through the Gospel of Mark and see where he takes us. I am looking forward to traveling with you!
Grace to you,