Sometimes a point of reference may not make sense to other people.
I needed to stop at a grocery store on my way to a writer’s retreat out of town recently. I also needed to pick up some office supplies. Knowing these two stores were close, but not remembering the name of the the grocery, I used OnStar to ask for directions to the office supply store whose name I knew .
I was still 200 miles away when I asked for directions. After checking the database, the operator came back online and stated “There are actually stores closer to you, would you like to be routed there?”.
Declining her offer to redirect me, I asked her to download directions to the one I requested. She thought the destination was the store, but in reality, I really wanted to reach the town. Stopping at that particular location to shop for supplies was coincidental, not just convenient.
It is important to know where you are ultimately headed or you risk stopping too soon.
Jesus knew the destination of his life was the cross. He resisted the offer to stop at a more convenient location when tempted by Satan in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). He also declined the crowd’s determination to make him king (John 6:15). Many opportunities arose that offered Jesus the chance to take the shortcut – to partial fulfillment of his task In the Garden of Gethsemane prior to his crucifixion, we get a glimpse into his resolve to complete the task (Luke 22:39-44).
Those around him didn’t understand the end goal and thought they offered him an alternative that would also get the job done. But, they didn’t need a temporary solution to the oppression of Rome. And, we would not have benefited at all unless he continued the journey all the way to the cross.
Paul followed Christ’s example to be obedient to complete what he was called to do (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Most of us will not face the challenges that Jesus and Paul, among others (Heb. 11), faced. Some will. Whether the task is small or large, will we be found faithful when it arises. Or will we stop at a closer destination and achieve only a part.
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” (Heb. 12:1-2, HCSV)