01/03/2022 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
A Single Step
As seen in the HEARTbeat and Village Voice
A Single Step
We have all taken trips and vacations. The destination is chosen, the plans are set, hotel reservations are made, and quite possibly airline tickets are purchased. So much goes into the pre-trip planning it can boggle the mind. When the trip is over, there is a common phrase often heard, “There’s no place like home.”
Even with all the details of a trip both going and coming, there is one that seems to be dismissed – the distance traveled. In the days of the covered wagon, a trip wasn’t measured by miles but by time. It took months for families traveling together to reach their destination. The trips were hard, and sometimes claimed the lives of those who dare make the cross-country trek.
Today, we still don’t pay too much attention to distance as traveling has become much more of a time-driven event. I can tell you how much time it takes to drive from my home to my mother’s home in Western Arkansas almost to the minute, but I can’t tell you the distance. It seems “time” as a factor is much more important to us than “distance.”
We can make all the plans in the world for a fabulous trip, but for it to happen we must take the first step. An ancient Chinese philosopher said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This is so true. It takes movement to make the trip work. No matter the distance, the time, or the location, the initial active effort is a single step.
Jesus had spent almost three years with the apostles. He called them, He taught them, and He empowered them to do miraculous things. After Jesus was transfigured atop Mount Hermon in front of James, John, and Peter, He came off the mountain. He did not plan a trip toward the Mediterranean Ocean nor farther north of Capernaum. Jesus stepped out toward Jerusalem. He knew the destination and more importantly He knew the purpose of the trip.
It’s hard to imagine the strength it took to make that first step knowing crucifixion was the destination. Most if not all of us would not be able to make a step like that, but Jesus did. His time on Earth was coming to a close, and He began to teach the apostles as much as He could on the trip. Just thinking about the destination must have made each step ever more difficult. But He took each step resolutely and with love.
We stray from God and what Jesus went through sometimes. Even as we think, “I’ve been out of church for so long it would be hard to go back now.” What keeps us from taking the first step toward God is weight – a weight of our own choosing. When we pack for trips, we don’t carry extra baggage. To make our trip toward God easier, get rid of the baggage we carry. God only wants us, not our baggage.
Oh, and the distance to God? It will be the shortest trip you’ll ever make, as God is only one step away!!