Jean Newell, Associate Pastor, Sun Lakes United Methodist Church
One day I decided to go for a walk, but instead of walking around my neighborhood, I headed off in a new direction. I ended up walking around the ASU West campus. The quiet atmosphere on campus that early fall morning was in sharp contrast to the noise of nearby traffic.
As usual, car after car whizzed by campus. Walking across a field parallel to Thunderbird Avenue, I approached a slight ridge and heading over it discovered a sidewalk. I followed it along 51st Avenue until I came to a road that headed back into campus. At that point, I left the sidewalk and followed the winding curve of the road.
Minutes later, drawing near 43rd Avenue, I veered to my left and walked across another dirt field. Lost in thought, I stumbled over a large rock. Laughing at myself, I realized I had a whole field to walk through but somehow had managed to stumble over the only rock in sight! Once I recovered from my clumsiness, I stood there for a couple of minutes trying to decide which direction to go. If I continued walking the direction I was going, I would come to a sidewalk which would make for easier walking, but with it being parallel to 43rd Avenue, I’d have to deal with noisy traffic.
Choosing between the two paths – the smooth sidewalk or the rock-strewn field – reminded me of our Christian walk. We can either choose the easy path and go along with the crowd, maybe compromising our standards. Or, we can take a tougher path, choosing to stand up for our Christian faith. Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). Jesus never promised life would be easy. If we are serious about living life as Jesus would have us live, then there will be times when we will “take up our cross”… when we will choose to be faithful to Christ’s teachings, and we’ll pass up the easy path for the rougher one.
With that thought in mind and wanting to prolong the peace and quiet a bit longer, I turned my steps toward the rugged field.
Sometimes life’s decisions are that easy to make, but when they’re not, isn’t that when our faith journey really begins – rocks and all?