Summary: At the crossroads of life when we are faced with making a decision, the Holy Spirit will direct us if we only but listen to Him. This was originally preached for a Church anniversary celebration.
Stand At the Crossroads—Jeremiah 6:16-17
When Harry informed me that today was the 95th anniversary to the exact date when the congregation of Centenary United Brethren in Christ Church, then located on East Decatur and what is now Martin Luther King Boulevard, met at the old sanctuary and marched to their new location where we today worship as the congregation of Central United Methodist Church, the Lord led me to our text in Jeremiah 6:16 as an appropriate text for such an occasion as this:
“Thus says the LORD:
‘Stand at the crossroads, and
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies: and
walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.’”
If those saints who built this house of worship on the site of the 1908 Billy Sunday Crusade could speak to us from God’s Word and challenge us today as we look to the future, I think this might be a text they would share, one they would encourage us to claim as a promise to claim and a commandment to obey as we march into future ministry.
Crossroads always call upon us to make a decision. In what direction are we going to go? I have shared this with you in previous messages. Some of you may remember that I have appreciated the poetry of Robert Frost since first reading his works as a junior in high school. One of his poems that is usually included in high school American Literature textbooks is the one entitled “The Road Not Taken”:
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as far,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
[--Robert Frost (1874–1963). Mountain Interval. 1920.
Whenever we are traveling and come to a crossroad, we have a decision to make. Which direction are we going to go?
In late March I had to drop by a friend’s house in Pawnee, Illinois, to pick up the cross I now wear daily around my neck. Now I had never been to Pawnee prior to this trip, but I thought I knew how to get there. The Pawnee-Auburn Exit from Interstate 55 is Exit Number 82, just south of Springfield. This is the Crossroads or Intersection of Illinois 104 with the Interstate. I had passed it many times prior to this trip but never taken the exit. I had always assumed that Pawnee was to the west on Illinois 104, and that is the direction I turned, but I soon realized that I was headed instead toward Auburn. I had to turn around as quickly as possible and head in the opposite direction. I had made the wrong decision at the Crossroad.
Crossroads remind us of the continuous choices must make each day. Our text in Jeremiah also addresses the urgency of our life decision. As a disciple of Jesus Christ all my decisions need to be rooted in Him and directed by the Holy Spirit. Notice who is speaking in our text. It is the Lord Himself, and in speaking to us He gives us four commandments: stand, look, ask, and walk. If we but let Him, the Holy Spirit will guide us in every area of our lives. That is what He is inviting us to let Him do in our text, and I believe it is what the saints of 1910 would challenge us to let Him guide our lives forever and ever.
The Lord calls out to each of us, “Stand at the Crossroads, and look.”
To Whom are we to look? This is God’s invitation to us to turn to Him for guidance and direction in life; or in the words of Hebrews 12:2 keep “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of£ the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God [--NRSV]. As the hymn writer prays:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim