Vacation Agendas

grandcanyon On the Road Again
Dust off the suitcase, Martha! It’s time to plan the vacation! Vacation trips would come more often in our family if it wasn’t for the expense. Such wonderful experiences occur while traveling to distant locations. Only limited funds force us to be pretty creative in summer vacationing and I’m sure that’s the normal for most families. It’s also true you can’t follow the same route as last year and expect to arrive at a new location. Equally true, if a change is needed in lifestyle habits, you can’t keep making the same choices and expect different results. When weary of unsatisfactory consequences in life, a change in direction is in order. You have to know where you are headed spiritually in order to get there!
A most rewarding vacation took us to the Grand Canyon. Instead of the most popular viewing location, we chose the north rim; less commercialized and wow, we were glad. No crowds, lots of places to pull over and roam the area and picture opportunities galore! But this less traveled route was hard to map and a long dry spell of no gas stations or fast food restaurants complicated the planning. Perhaps this is what Jesus was implying when He explained we need to count the cost before committing to our spiritual walk. The rewards of a faithful walk with God are many, but there are costs involved that may not be seen at first glance.
A story of a rich young man Jesus encountered on one of His trips to Jerusalem is a good example. The rich man asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. (He evidently knew where he wanted to go) Jesus repeated some of the rules the Jewish people were accustomed to following and the young man proudly stated he had kept ALL these rules. A deeper look into his heart showed Jesus his love of riches for He stated, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.’ (Luke 18:22) The man’s actions leave no doubt to his disappointment, ‘But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.’ (v. 23)
Paul went one step further. He counted all things worthless – ‘Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ,’ (Philippians 3:8) I don’t think the point is for us to give up all things, but we certainly need to be ready to do just that, if Jesus Christ asks us to make sacrifices in our lifestyle.
It stands to reason if we want to experience everlasting life in heaven, we’d better study the route and be ready to follow directions. For those professing Christians who shun attendance at a house of worship or fail to read God’s word with regularity, I wonder if they have counted the cost. This is not a casual thing, this born-again, rebirth experience, not a vacation trip but a life-journey. Let’s get serious about following the teachings of the New Testament in order to reach heaven. Jesus said it best, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) and ‘If anyone desires to come with Me, let him take up his cross daily and follow Me.’ (Luke 9:23)

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