It’s often said that life is more about the journey than the destination. Arthur Ashe, to date the only African-American male tennis player to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, said “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” But what would we say as followers of Jesus?
For longer than I can remember I’ve been meeting weekly with a few blokes to pray and share stuff. It’s all quite simple, we agree the day (usually Wednesday) and whose place we’ll meet at. Basically, we set aside one hour each week to be together, to drink loads of tea, read the Bible and catch up. When it first started, we were all working, all with children at home and all striving to do the best we could for our families. Our conversations would be about work/life balance, money, the latest gadgets we’d like or how our football team faired at the weekend.
Whilst I’ve gone around the raising children loop for a second time, my mates from the Wednesday group are all now empty nesters. The conversations today still include football and gadgets, but now there’s usually a mention or two about our various ailments and what we might do in our retirement, if we get there! Yet the most important thing we continue to have in common is our faith in Jesus; the fact is we remain on a journey that is much more than just moving from one place to another.
Like an earthly journey, I think that our journey as Christian men is best undertaken when we remember some nuggets of advice I’ve been given over the years:
1. Pack lightly. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).
2. Things rarely go as planned. How often do we begin our day only to look back on it and realise just how little we accomplished on our ‘To Do’ list? “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). I’m pretty sure God regularly interrupts our plans to help us grow in faith as we learn to depend more and more on him and his grace.
3. A guide is helpful. God has given us his word, the Bible, as the ultimate ‘travel guide’. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Add to that the fellowship of blokes like my mates on a Wednesday who disciple us in God’s truth and spur us on in the faith.
4. Traveling is great, but it’s not our home: “Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1-2).
5. No matter how much you try not to look like a tourist, you’ll still stand out: “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. (Matthew 5:16).
For me, being on a journey, as a follower of Jesus, is about learning and growth; about taking the opportunity to share with others what I believe in and the hope I have in my destination. It’s about living, as Code III says, “…unashamedly making Jesus known through my actions and words”.
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