The Path Worth Traveling

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Have you ever gotten lost, maybe in a place where no one speaks your language, and you do not speak theirs? If you have, you may also remember that moment of panic that accompanied the recognition that your were,indeed, lost. It is a feeling of being utterly helpless. Your mind races over a dozen scenarios. You know no one. What are you going to do? If you were lucky, maybe someone came to your “rescue” and with a few words, lots of hand gestures, and with genuine kindness and compassion “shepherded” you back on to the recognized path to your destination. You might remember the sense of relief that came over you and how it was followed by an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the kindness and the generosity that person had shown you, a stranger. That personal encounter with genuine human kindness probably shaped your whole view of that place.

Brothers and sisters, we are often lost. We are often confused and led astray by the many temptations of this Vanity Fair we are wandering through as pilgrims on the road to the Celestial City. There are many reasons for this, but the result is always the same. When we lose the path, when we get lost, we suffer. But, as Christians, we know that there is always One who will come to our rescue. With infinite kindness, love, and mercy, Jesus will guide us back onto the righteous path, the narrow path that leads to the green pastures and the flowing waters of our heavenly home. Jesus is our Good Shepherd, our loving Savior. His love and his concern for us is infinite and inextinguishable.

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It is the path of righteousness that we often stray from. It is the one and only true path to our hoped for destination. There are countless other paths that “appear” to be good paths. Some purport to be “shortcuts” to our destination, but lead nowhere. Some appeal to us as ways to immediate pleasures; supposedly innocent, momentary diversions of one kind or another. Others make no bones about being rebellious tracks that make their own ways, their own destinations. They have names like, “I did it my way.” Or “It’s all about me.” In every case, they all lead to ends we did not intend or desire. There is only one path that leads us home; the path of righteousness.

To be righteous in this world is not easy. Righteousness is a matter of moral character. While we are born with the instinct for this, because of our fallen nature, we have to work hard, even struggle, to develop the habits of moral character over the length of our lives. Though these habits do not come easy, when they are acquired, they become our shield and our strength in the face of life’s many challenging or tempting appeals to go down its many and varied “roads to perdition.” As Christians we know our guide. Jesus is our moral compass, our guide, our shepherd. We need only look to him, listen to his word, and follow in his ways in order to find our way home. Though this is not easy, with God on our side, who can be against us? If we willingly pick up the crosses of our lives and follow him, he will guide us home. Thanks be to our Good and Kind Shepherd.

For your name’s sake, Jesus, we desire to follow you down the path of righteousness to our heavenly home. In you we place our faith, our hope, and our love. Help us to grow more confident in our faith and our knowledge of you each day. We ask this in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.