Psalm 26:11b – O Lord; I try to walk a straight and narrow path of doing what is right; therefore in mercy save me. (TLB)
There is an old saying that the shortest way between two points is a straight line. Usually, when I want to go somewhere that is quite a distance away, I telephone the Auto Club and ask for a "trip tick". The standard response is, "Do you want the shortest and fastest route or the scenic route?" I usually ask for one way going, and the other way coming back.
Usually the fastest and most direct route is as close to a straight line as the roads will allow. The scenic route has curves and more secondary roads, and leads through towns and villages.
As a driver, I love to take the scenic route if I have time. There is great pleasure, for me, in a slower drive and a chance to see new territory — the opportunity to visit a little bakery or antique store in a small town. I love to wander through the countryside and be able to pull off when I want and maybe explore a small gravel road.
Life, though, is different from a drive in the country. We are asked to get to places and do things as fast as possible. Life doesn't usually give us the time to take those small side trips and enjoy the quiet times.
As Christians, are we being asked by Jesus to take the straight route? I think that that is self-explanatory: the straight and narrow road is the way to salvation. But the straight and narrow road that Jesus talks about is not necessarily the same route as the world talks about.
But in another sense, Jesus does expect us to take the scenic route, the route that leads us to interact with other people, the route that may lead us from our comfortable and predictable lives to a mission field in some faraway country, the route that gives us time to volunteer with different organizations that help others in our world.
As a Christian, one of my strongest callings is not only to my church, but also to my volunteer position at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. Jesus has called me to come, as a spiritual advisor, into the lives of men and women who are shunned by many in the outside world because they are down and out.
So, if Jesus does call us to take a scenic route through our lives, we shouldn't be afraid to follow Him. He will guide us along those roads which not only give us the time to visit and work with people, but also give us time to be with our God and to give Him praise and glory.
Prayer: Father, we thank You that Your ways are not the ways of the world. We thank You that You give us chances to get off the fast route and to take the scenic route through life. You give us the chance to be with others of Your children, and You give us the time and opportunity to relax and praise You for who You are. Amen.