By Carl McMurray
And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem (Lk. 13:22).
The passage above speaks of our Lord’s journey toward Jerusalem. Verses 32 and 33 show us that this was not just a trip for him and Jerusalem was not just a place to stop. That city was his goal. He knew that he was traveling toward his own crucifixion. While setting his mind on his goal, however, he did not lose sight of where he was and what he was doing. Daily he was casting out demons and performing miracles of healing upon others. Think also about his method of travel. Possessing little finances, Jesus probably walked most places he went. As he walked into villages and out of cities on his journey, his eyes and ears were open to the cries of those distressed. He spoke to them, touched them, healed their bodies and changed their lives. He taught them and spoke with a confidence and truth that burned his words into their hearts so that people remembered his teaching and told others, “No man ever spake like this man.” As Jesus traveled toward death, he formed relation-ships and left an effect behind him.
On the other hand, consider how we travel. We like interstates. We seal ourselves up in an air-conditioned environment on smooth asphalt and radial tires. With reclining seats and cruise control, our favorite tape in the player, or Rush Limbaugh on the radio, we sit back and chat with others in the car for hundreds upon hundreds of miles. Every few hours I may stop just momentarily for a bottle of juice and some popcorn or fuel or a meal. Even then it’s, “Hurry and get back in the car — gotta go!”
You may be asking about this time, “What’s the point?” “Is he trying to tell us to walk instead of drive?” I’m really not doing that at all. Jesus’ method of travel accurately represented the way he traveled through life. My point is that if we are not careful, we also travel through life like we travel across the country. We get ourselves insulated and comfortable with all of our needs seen to. The only time we get close to others is when we jump out momentarily and need someone else to see to another of our needs. We want things smooth and comfortable, clean and quiet, as we travel toward our goal. We pay outrageous amounts for a home to live in and then never “use” it for hospitality because a magazine may be on the floor or the plush pile carpet is not vacuumed. We have every modern labor-saving appliance (almost) known to man in our kitchens — so we can eat out! Many modern ladies would find it impossible to prepare, on short notice, for extra company at the table. They couldn’t compete with women in the past who work-ed out of pots and woodstoves. The average work week has been shortened to 40-50 hours for most men, but we still can’t find time to attend evening classes, visit other Christians, or prepare a class to teach. Our children are healthier, better educated, and have access to more opportunities than they have ever had. They are also lazier, more disrespectful, more spoiled, less self-controlled and less responsible. I know there are many exceptions to all the preceeding — but I still believe this to be the “rule.” Are we traveling through life at our ease? We need to wake up and pay attention to what’s going on around us.
I see Jesus walking and talking in the marketplaces, answering their questions, as he healed them. He blessed the little children and I just imagine he greeted the elderly with respect and compassion. He took note of people — and so should we. Slow down! On this road of life, get out of your car and walk. Turn off life’s radio, listen to some people, and find out what is really important.
When you visit the grocery next time, for a moment, visit with the cashier. Compliment the gas station attendant and call that little girl at Hardee’s by her name. She wears it on a tag for all to take note of. When your co-worker shows up at work in a good mood, ask him why and then give him some positive feedback. Feel good with him, laugh out loud with him. When sadness or tragedy strike an acquaintance — run, don’t walk, right to them — hug ’em. Take some time to listen to their feelings. Be quiet. You can’t hear when you’re talking. It doesn’t matter if you know “just what to say” like some others seem to do so easily. It is your heart that people want, not your eloquence.
Stop the car and get out of the air conditioning. Look deep into the eyes of your children and see yourself. Give them what they need; your love, your confidence, and discipline. Tell your friends what you think of them, what they mean to you. Encourage the younger ones who are walking in your footsteps and don’t push the elderly ahead of you — care for them and watch out for them instead. Make sure your husband or wife knows you love them. Experience life in all of its excitements, and sorrows, and joys. Talk to people and listen. Visit with people and share. Keep your eyes open to help and when you see a place, jump into the gap and give it your best. Jesus was traveling toward his goal and so are we. He was traveling toward heaven and so are we. He was heading toward death and so are we. All along the way he was reaching out and sharing God’s power and the good news of the kingdom. We should be doing the same thing. To arrive at the Lord’s goal, we’re going to have to travel his path. What type of traveler have you been? What type will you be?
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 6, p. 13
March 18, 1993