November 2, 2009

The Lonely Places


One of my favorite hobbies is backpacking. Last year I put over 125 miles on the treads of my hiking boots, and a friend and I hiked 70 miles and 8 days on a trek through the Laurel Highlands in Southern Pennsylvania. The things I like best about backpacking are that I am doing something a relatively small number of people do and I get to see things that a relatively small number of people get to see and experience. They are the lonely places.

Why are they lonely?

Because it is easier to stay home than to make the effort to get out to see these places. Either we don't want to make the effort...we are not outdoor people...the reward is not worth it for us...whatever the reason, it is always easier to stay where we than to make the effort to get out and gain the experience that awaits us in the lonely places.

This morning while reading the Gospel of Mark, I came across these verses,
"Jesus sent [the man with leprosy] away at once with a strong warning: 'See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.' Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere."

The news about Jesus spread quickly and compellingly. It was so compelling that people were willing to overcome the ease of staying where they were to go out into the lonely places and meet with Jesus. The lonely places became no so lonely...because of Jesus. Both because he was there and because he drew a crowd.

There is something about Jesus that continues to draw people to Him. He is the subject of more discussions, movies, books, and arguments than anyone else in history...and yet He is the subject. People talk about Him, want to know Him, and try to understand Him. As the old hymn says, "There is something about that name."

But it is easy to lose that "attraction" to Jesus, and return to that state of ease that keeps us from moving forward. Once we make Jesus the topic of our discussions, movies, debates, and books...it is easy to treat Him as just another topic to be discussed or of which to have an opinion about. It is easy to get bogged down in the mundane things of life, and lose the edge on that attraction to Him. We can forget that He is the Son of God whom we are to worship and obey, and our Savior, Redeemer, Lord, and Teacher.

What are some things that you do to keep your relationship moving forward?

1 comment:

  1. Through music. I'm not really sure how that works, but when I start singing at church, or when I find Christian music (that isn't cheesy) on the radio, my heart opens up and I feel what I'm singing. There's honesty there and I can be real with God.

    Btw, betcha didn't know that a long long time ago I went backpacking for 6 days in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Absolutely amazing and I definitely didn't take enough pictures!

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