2001-03-21 - New Pathways
As many of you know, my dog Pierre is one of my most effective teachers. During a recent vacation, he gave me another valuable reminder. At the beach we visit, there are many bike paths and walking paths through the woods. But Pierre prefers to meander along his own pathways. In the process, we often discover thing we didn't know were there. One time, we ran upon a swamp we had never seen. To you, visiting a swamp may sound as appealing as watching grass grow, but to a birdwatcher, a swamp is a gold mine! Pierre doesn't worry about what people will think if he takes a different road. He doesn't lose sleep about doing something he's never done before (or that few have done). He just bounds off, creating a new pathway, having fun adventures along the way.
What are we like in our Christian walks? Are we afraid to do something different? Sometimes God's path for us is not the well-worn one. Sometimes He wants us to be spiritual Daniel Boone. Sometimes He wants to do "something new" in our lives, in our churches.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NASB) Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.
Recently I experienced this myself, in a small way at my church. I am a member of a very vital, warm church; we are known for our friendliness. But our worship services are rather traditional. I sing in the choir and when our director asked for a tambourine player, I waited to see if anyone jumped at the chance. When no one did, I was brave or crazy enough to volunteer. I was excited but also nervous because "we've never used one in an anthem before," and also because I hadn't played one since the 70's. But my worries were for naught. God used that tambourine to help people enjoy worship and to put huge grins on faces. One very reserved lady said excitedly, "I wanted to get up and dance down the aisle." One man said he thought I myself was going to break into a dance. Now people look forward to hearing the tambourine. I'm so glad God loosened me up enough to be willing to try it.
This is not to say the untrodden pathway will always be a smooth one. Sometimes there are thorns along the path and obstacles to overcome. Many of our spiritual ancestors strode down new pathways that were not "safe" or "comfortable," and some even sacrificed their lives in the process. But where would we be today if Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Wycliffe or the Pilgrims had decided to not do something because it had never been done before, because it was not comfortable, not a "sure thing?"
I challenge you to ask God if He wants you to try something different and if so, to give you the discernment, strength and support to do it.