The Journey

District Fellowship News

September, October 2006

Summer is over. Well not quite, but we are already thinking about the storms ahead and how the cold will bite through our bones, the falling snow that finds a way down the back of our neck, the icy roads and slippery sidewalks. There is always another season, another year, another place to be. Our lives are really journeys, travels from one place to another, one season to another, one experience to another. Just as the years will not stand still and leave us with a perfect summer twilight watching the last rays of the sun disappearing at the horizon, our lives will not stop at the perfect moments when everything seems to be going right. We continue to move, to travel. There are a couple of things about our journeying that I would like to share with you.

First, our spiritual journey is only worthwhile if there is a destination. There is certainly no point in traveling anywhere if you do not have a goal in mind. When you take a vacation you may say something like, “I don’t care where we go, I just want to see some sights and wander wherever my car happens to travel.” That would sound like there is no destination, but in reality you have something in mind. You may not know a location but you have an idea you are striving to attain, or a goal you wish to accomplish. Seeing lighthouses, finding quiet places, the best fishing or hunting, quilt shops: these all end up being destinations for our journey. The same goes for our spiritual walk. We need a goal, a purpose in our journey. For many of us we would answer immediately, my goal is heaven. We see it as a place to get to, but the truth is that our spiritual journey is not just about how we get to heaven. That will be our final destination but our lives are travels to get us into a place where we are totally directed by the King of Kings, following the path he lays before us to get there. We would like to take the shortest path to this destination, but the truth of the matter is that there is great importance in the path we take, the journeying.

There are places along the way we would rather stay at and not go on. They can be safe havens from trouble, idyllic moments where everything seems to be perfect, the mountaintop experiences where we think we have arrives at our destination because we can almost see it. Abram and his family did this when they left from Ur to travel to the promised land. They stopped for many years in Haran. I don’t know what Haran was like, but I can imagine it was a comfortable place to be. The family was around, the commerce was good, they were respected as leaders, but this was not the destination that God had in mind. Abram’s destination was Canaan, his goal was to get to that land. We must be careful not to settle for less than what God has in store for us because we get comfortable in a spot in our journey and decide to make it a permanent resting place. Terah, Abram’s father, never made it to Canaan, although he was the one who originally set out for that land because they stopped in Haran and didn’t continue their journey.

Finally, the journey is the thing. We cannot consider our travels as just a way to get from here to there. In many families when they travel, two approaches come out in traveling. The first is the destination oriented individual who can only see the end of the trip. They would rather get to where they are supposed to be and then relax once they get there. The single focus is the destination, but there is the other traveler who wants to enjoy the trip while they are traveling.  In our spiritual walk we must realize that the journey is the thing. Yes we will eventually reach our destination, but our whole life is the journey. Unlike Abram who would eventually reach the Promised Land only then to leave and go to Egypt and come back, we aren’t going to get to a physical destination (heaven) and stop there. What Abram needed to realize was that his true destination, destiny was to father a nation. It wasn’t about a place, it was about his heart. The same can be said for us, our goal is for the kingdom of heaven to grow in our hearts. That happens as we travel, as we journey. The journey is the thing.