Summary: Hope is why we persevere in a long obedience in the same direction.
Text: I Corinthians 15:50-58
Thesis: Hope is why we persevere in a long obedience in the same direction.
Explanation: In 1980 IVP published Eugene Peterson’s book, “A Long Obedience In The Same Direction.” Thirty-five years ago Peterson had picked up on a cultural trend toward our being an instant society people. We like to get where we are going. We want to go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds. We even have shortcuts on our computers so we can with a “click” on the mouse go directly to the file or program we want.
The idea of going from entry level to CEO in one step is unheard of. In a trade or profession individuals served Apprenticeships which were like on-the-job training. Having completed one’s Apprenticeship the person became a Journeyman where he became fully educated and worked to perfect his trade. Eventually other Masters of a trade recognized their knowledge and skills and elected them to the level of Master Craftsman. And then as a Master Craftsman a person lived out his life continuing to master his craft to ever increasing mastery.
Impatience does not do for anyone wishing to become a Master. Diligence does. If we be Apprentices and Journeymen and Masters in following Jesus Christ we understand that we are in it for the long haul, so to speak. We do not simply sign on as followers of Jesus and step up to Heaven’s Gate where we are swept into a life of everlasting bliss.
So as followers of Jesus, we understand that the Christian life is a long obedience in the same direction in which we not only learn information and knowledge but the skills of Christ-like living, service to God and others.
If you have driven across the country, you are aware that the landscape varies from state to state and even within a given state. I often hear comments about how boring it is to drive through certain parts of our country. So you might identify with this analogy.
We’ve been known to make the run from Denver to Chicago or St. Paul a few times in the last 15 years. The most horrible leg of the journey for me is between here and Ft. Morgan. I hate it… I’m not alone. I notice other travelers. Some are watching movies on video players or I-Pads or listening to their I-Pods. Others are reading. Some are napping. All are oblivious to the landscape around them. All are asking, “Are we there yet?”
On their way to the Grand Canyon they pass through Kansas, eastern Colorado, Oklahoma and Arizona occupying themselves in any way they can just to get through all the barrenness on their way to the Grand Canyon.
.The journey across the country is something we endure in order to get where we are going.
Our text reminds us that while there is a destination in mind… our journey is important as well.
In fact, we would be wise to note that the Bible has a lot more to say about how we live during our journey than about our ultimate destination. (Philip Yancey, "On the Grand Canyon Bus," Christianity Today (September 2008), p. 102)