Sunday, April 20, 2008

a few more thoughs about journey and destination

I thought this afternoon of a song from several years ago, by the Christian singer Steve Taylor. The song was called "The Finish Line".

I'll not put the lyrics here, I doubt it would be right to do that anyway, but the song went roughly like this...

It was in the form of a story. In the first verse, we are introduced to an unnamed man who was just "born for the second time", he is beginning his life as a follower of Christ and it is given the metaphor of a race. He is confident, sure, ready for the race, and as the verse ends he is "out of the block" and off.

Verse two finds him in a situation that could be described as like in the parable of the sower and the seeds, where cares and troubles of this world threaten to choke him and render his life of little eternal value. He fights (and sometimes fails to) compromises and temptations, and stumbles and grows weary.

In the third and final verse, he is "bloodied but wise", and his eyes are set on the finish line.

It's a good song, and it illustrates again the importance of keeping our eyes on the destination, as that is what is truly important.

Paul uses the analogy of a race when he tells us to "lay aside the weight and the sins which beset us, and run patiently the race set for us. Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame."

Even here, we see how with Jesus it was the destination, the joy that was set before Him, that was the main thing, that was the reason that He endured that most painful and shameful and truly unjust part of His race, the cross.

Understand, please, I do not want to denigrate the importance of the journey, the race, and how we run it. Paul doesn't, he gives us some guidance on how we can best run it. And in the passage from II Timothy mentioned in the last entry, he tells how it was through his fighting the good fight, finishing his course, and keeping the faith in that race that will lead to his reward.

But the journey is meaningless if the destination is bad.

I can point to Jesus' own words to support that idea. He tells us that "broad is the gate and wide the way that leads to destruction, and many travel that way". Does the fact that way is broad and there are many people on it negate the fact that the destination is destruction? If people have some good experiences on that way, will they remember it when they reach the end of that road, and find that it was for nothing?

And there are more of Jesus' words, such as "What has it profited a man, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?" Such a man's journey may be pleasant, but in the end he will have lost his soul, and the pleasant journey will have been for nothing.

Can you see how misleading, how ignorant, even how evil it is to say that we should not worry about the destination that the journey or the race of our lives is going towards? I invite anyone to correct me, but I can't think of any place in the Bible where even the inference that the journey is more important then the destination, or that the destination is unimportant, can be made.

In truth, perhaps nothing is more important then our eternal destination.

And there is only one way, and Jesus Himself is that way. There is no other way.

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