WHICH WAY IS FORWARD?
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
Which way is forward? This may seem a silly question on the surface, but the answer is not so simple and clear as one may wish it to be. Motion itself may not always be forward, and not knowing the difference can be disastrous.
An automobile cross country race hosted many contestants. Each car had a driver and a navigator. The race route was through difficult terrain. One car was decidedly ahead of the others when an unmarked crossroads was approached. The driver demanded to know which way to go. The navigator said he did not know. He said that he was so sure that they would never be in the lead that he neglected to study the route. There were roads to take, but two of the three would not take them forward to their goal.
Another unlearned driver was proud of his just acquired automobile. He was so proud that he wanted to show his buddies that he could out race them. In the course of his attempt, the car came apart. To hear him tell it, he put the gear shift lever into “D” for “drag.” As he picked up speed, he realized he was not outrunning his buddies in their cars, so he shifted the lever into “R” for “Race” and that is when it all started to come apart, so he quickly shifted it into “P” for “Pass.” and that was the end of it.
Now if this appears ridiculous, just survey what makes a lot of religions “tick” and it will seem fairly sane. In short, motion or activity does not necessarily mean a person or group is making forward progress. Jesus indicated this as he described the religious generation into which He came so long ago. “And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I like the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.” Luke 7:31-32. They were zealous of activity for the sake of activity, rather than being zealous of practicing strict adherence to the will of the Lord so plainly revealed in the Bible. God’s viewpoint of “forward” is activity within His holy will. That kind of “forward” is inclusive of the old paths; of waiting on the Lord as described in Isa. 40:31. Here then is walking and running without weariness; a perpetual renewing of strength; the direction God calls “forward.”
There are a lot of churches and religious groups who think they are churches wallowing in the pitfall well-meaning, but carnal, religious activity. Such becomes religious protocol, and it fosters a staleness that will turn embers into ice cubes. God’s ways are tried and true, and a must for every believer. They are as God told Moses, “. . . Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Exo. 14:15. We should follow life actions designed by THE BOOK!