Summary: Living an Abundant Life
The Road Less Traveled
Little Log Church
February 7-8, 2004
Two weeks ago, John and I decided we would take one morning a week, which is really only 2 and ½ hours due to our children’s school schedule, to hike. We’re calling it our pastoral staff meeting. We hike and talk, talk and hike. Sometimes we hike in silence hearing only the birds and our deep gasps for breath.
On our very first hike together I chose to take him up Strawberry Mtn., down behind Sundance Mtn. and had planned to come out at the second reservoir so we could make our way down the reservoir path. But noticing the time, I realized we wouldn’t be able to make it all the way to the 2nd reservoir so we took a left where the path Y’s thinking that we’d come out at the 1st reservoir. Well, at some point, where I don’t quite remember, we lost the path. We could blame the snow. We could blame the creek. We could blame our lack of attention. But no matter what or who we blamed the result was the same. We weren’t lost, but we were off course.
Our choices were clear. We could 1) back-track. We could 2) take the time to find the path or we could 3) blaze our own path using my keen sense of direction and knowledge of woods (ha ha).
Now, back-tracking, while an option, was not real appealing. We’d already seen the terrain. We knew we didn’t have the time we needed to get back based on how long it had taken us to get where we were. And to be honest, back-tracking may be comfort producing but it is not real adventuresome. Really, it’s boring. So we chose not to back-track.
Finding the path and continuing on our journey would have probably been the best alternative but we didn’t think we had the time to search for it. John had to pick up Sarah at 11:45 and I didn’t have my GPS so we didn’t really know how far we were from the reservoir and more importantly the school. And with the snow cover, it was going to be difficult to find anyway. So, we chose option #3 and we set out on our own path, blazing our way through the pristine and trackless snow.
Well, it wasn’t long before we realized it was going to be a little tougher than we thought. We soon found ourselves in the midst of numerous large snow and ice covered rocks. I won’t say it looked perilous but ominous comes close. Needless to say, we made it. And we made it with a minute or two to spare. Sarah’s class was coming outside just as we were walking up High Street. Had it not been for our determination and sheer strength we might not have made it. . .o.k. it wasn’t that tough. But it wasn’t as easy as it could have been had we stayed on the path.
Throughout history, there have been many famous trails or paths. The Appalachian Trail, the Oregon Trail, the Natchez Trail, and the Chisholm Trail are just a few. Trails or paths were our nations first interstate system. But no matter which trail or path you may read or talk about, history shows again and again how important it was to stay on it. All you have to do is read about the Donner party who tried to cut their own path to California in 1846.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it or not but we are all on a trail or a path. At this very moment you are either on a right path or a wrong path. As I said to the retreat goers last weekend, when you walk into a cemetery, you see headstones with someone’s name, an epitaph, a date of birth and a date of death. What often goes overlooked is the hyphen between the date of birth and date of death. But it’s that hyphen that represents that individual’s entire life. We look at the dates, but the real story is the hyphen. And it’s that hyphen that makes up our trail or our path.
TWO LIFE PATHS
Our first inclination is to say that those who are Christians are on the right path and those who are non-Christians are on the wrong path. And this of course is true. We read in Matthew 7:13-14 that Jesus said “the way” or the path that leads to destruction is broad and that many are on it, while “the way” or the path that leads to life is narrow and few find it. But this morning I want to think in terms of the Christian and how it is still possible for a Christian to be on one of two paths. It’s not a matter of being on a right path or a wrong path. It’s a matter of being on a good path and a great path. Some of us in this room are on a good path and some of us are on a great path. Let me explain.