I was a youth pastor years ago. One of the best trips I ever did with a group of students was a mission trip called “X-fuge” to the inner city of Chicago, Illinois. It was such a valuable, eye-opening week. Nichole and I took a group of about 10 students along with some of our chaperones and close friends on this trip. This was a work trip. We worked and served in places that we had previously only heard about on the news (and not in a good way). Anyway, during this trip, there was not a lot of time for us to do sightseeing or local stuff although we did make it to Wrigley Field for a Cub’s game.
The night before the morning we were to head home, my wife talks about wanting to see Lake Michigan before we headed back. That did not sound unreasonable. So our plan was to get up EXTRA early the following morning and find Lake Michigan before we left town.
An important thing to mention at this point in the story is that this was BEFORE cell phones with GPS. I had a Nokia 5165. We didn’t have anything but good old mapquest that we had to print out.
Back then, these directions didn’t account for things like traffic or construction (of which there was tons of both in Chicago) and, because they were printed on paper, once they were printed that was it!
So we take our printed mapquest directions to Lake Michigan, loaded up the van of students with a chaperone car behind us and set out to see the Great Lake.
Long story short, we hit construction unaccounted for in our directions and found ourself LOST in downtown Chicago. Nichole will tell you that when I am lost, I tend to drive faster and more wrecklessly. It is like something uncontrollable inside of me. She loves to say that I am “going NOWHERE fast!!” Anyway, I was frustrated. She was frustrated. I came to a stop sign and she let me know I needed to stop driving like I was and I said, “Fine – I will stop driving altogether.” I then proceeded to get out of the van in the middle of town, in the middle of the street, and walk around to her door. I opened it and said, “You drive and get us to your precious Lake Michigan.” She is now in tears. Students are silent. I am fuming. She quietly gets out (she is always so graceful), gets in the driver’s seat, and calmly navigates the construction to get us back on our printed directions and we soon find ourselves at beautiful Lake Michigan.
Needless to say this was not one of my finest moments as a husband, youth pastor, or human being.
I tell you that story to say: THE WAY MATTERS. The way we drive matters. The road we take matters. The turn we make matters. The directions we follow matter.
So which WAY are you going? Which way are you living?
Most of you reading this probably consider yourselves to be Christians. DID YOU KNOW, though, that people who followed Christ as recorded in Acts were not called Christians until Acts 11 and when they were it was kind of other people making fun of them. It was derogatory.
Interestingly enough the people who followed Christ at this time were actually known by a name that we don’t hear much anymore, but maybe we should go back to.
Acts 9:2 …so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem.
Acts 19:23 During that time there was a major disturbance about the Way.
Early believers were known as People of the Way. What Way? Well, remember the words of Jesus to His disciples as He answers Thomas’ questions.
John 14:5-6 5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Jesus clearly makes the claim that He was the WAY. He was specifically referring to the Way to God – heaven, but I submit to you that it was understood and implied that He was also the WAY to life on earth.
John 10:10 A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
So if Jesus is the WAY and we are to be known as people of the WAY, then how does that shape us?
For those believers in Acts, it was a reference to their LIFESTYLE. The WAY they lived their everyday life showed others that they followed Jesus.
WOW. I wonder as I am writing this if people could identify who I follow by the WAY I live…
What about you?
You see if we are going to live with purpose and truly follow Christ then the WAY in which live matters! I’m not saying we will be perfect. I am saying the WAY in which we live matters! The WAY in which we live will determine our priorities. Our priorities will shape our purpose.
So men, if you are a Christ-follower, the WAY in which you treat your wife matters. Do you love her like Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her?
Parents, the WAY you lead your children matters. Do we live in such a way that shows the importance of the things or God or the things of this world to our children?
The WAY in which you work matters. Does the way you work indicate who you follow?
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men,
The WAY you talk matters. The WAY you think matters. The WAY you make decisions matters.
THE WAY MATTERS! As followers of Jesus, the WAY we live our lives matters in every single way.
So when our lives are seen, is it evident to others that we are heading a certain WAY? Is Jesus evident? Are we people of HIS WAY or our own way? Maybe it is time we got out of the driver’s seat of our lives and let Jesus determine our way!
LIVE ON PURPOSE. LIVE THE WAY!