Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ponder the path

Sometimes there are ideas and principals that are so obvious that we fail to recognize them or even heed the advice and direction that they give. In the book, “The Principal of The Path”, such a principal is found. The thought is very simple yet profound, and one which we realize all too late in life most times. Basically the principal can be summed up in this statement, “Whatever path you are on, will lead you somewhere, and it might not be where you want to go.”
Of all places to find wisdom, Andy Stanley takes up to King Solomon himself, the wisest King to ever live or rule. Solomon tells us that we should observe where we are because it can tell us where we are going. How much simpler could it get? If we will take the time to first of all, examine our current path, what we are giving energy to and spending resources on, we may be able to see what the ending will be like. There have been many times that when all is said and done we look back and think, “If I had only seen this coming”, but the truth is there are times that we could have. If we had only taken the time to look around, check a map, or ask somebody who has been where we are, then some circumstances could be avoided. I have reflected on several things in not only my personal life path, but my ministry path as well. Looking back from this point, I see why I am where I am and how I could have been somewhere different, but I have also found some great insight in the book that will help me get to where I feel like God wants me to be. One thing, that Stanley and King Solomon hammers home is the concept of wise counsel from wise people. Too many times we ask the wrong people for advice and direction who may be good friends and confidants, are not “wise” on the issue that we seek input about. The bible makes it clear that the best counsel comes from those who have “been there and done that”, not those who have a fresh view or promise a “new perspective”. Rehoboam learned this the hard way when he rejected the counsel of the elder statesmen and went with the direction given by those the bible says “he grew up with”. The path we are on can be navigated no matter how young we are, however we must use those around us who know how to navigate the path and have already been that way before. Another point that stuck out to me is the story you tell while on your path, will make a great impact! No matter what path you are on, there will be a story about the journey can be as important as your arrival. I have heard Johnny Hunt mention over and over that he prays that he will “finish well”, and oh how we should all desire that, but some of us will never finish well if we don’t change the path we are on. We find ourselves making the same mistakes over and over, but we are not willing to change paths, and eventually the sympathy that people feel for us as we fall the first couple of times will turn to apathy because they can see that we are headed for a dead end, if we don’t change paths. The last thing from this great book I would like to discuss is the art of paying attention and not being distracted. When we are on the path, there will be many distractions and “side shows” to grab our attention but if we are to finish the path, it’s a good idea to stay focused. Stanley uses the analogy of a driver that stares at something to his right or left while driving, will veer toward it. The same holds true for us as we walk the path we are on. Whatever captures our attention will cause us to steer toward it, and sometimes that can be dangerous and sometimes fatal. Once again, King Solomon shares a story about the young man who was dealing with a questionable woman who, even though the young man couldn’t see, was standing at the doorway that led to destruction. The young mans attention was captured and his path was re- routed. But what if our focus and attention was set on Christ and we steered our path in His direction?
In conclusion, this book was a great read and recommended to all church staff, leaders, even business folks. I challenge you as you read this, look at the path you are on and ask yourself “where am I going to end up if I continue doing this job” , “making these decisions”, “treating my spouse this way”, “giving God this amount of time”, “pleasing people”, “working here” or whatever would fit your situation. Once you have assessed your life, then make some decisions about changing your path and remember, don’t do it alone, seek “wise” counsel, get directions, keep an eye on the story line, and pay attention!

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