I didn't really watch the weather the other night. I probably should have. The total extent of my weather information that day consisted of my wife telling me that "we're supposed to get half a foot of snow over night" as we went to bed. "You can take MY car if you want."
My wife drives a family-sized sedan while I drive a little Ford Focus. She knew my front tires were wearing out. Or as one of my "friends" tells me, your front tires are a lot like your head . . . balding. Funny.
I wasn't really looking forward to my 40-mile commute to work through all that snow so, thinking I should be better safe than sorry, I took my wife's car. Boy, was I glad I did. As I backed out of the driveway I took a quick look at my tire tracks. There was probably more like 7-8 inches of new snow in our driveway. I never would have made it in the Focus.
We live way out in the country, about six miles out of town. We're usually plowed out pretty early in the morning because we live on a school bus route. "Usually" being the keyword there. We're USUALLY plowed out pretty early . . . on days that school isn't canceled and . . . guess what. Yeah.
No snowplow had gone through. 7-8 inches of snow on the roadways. And my headlights were shining on a beautifully prestine, sparkling snowscape because, at 4:45 in the morning, no one had been on the road yet! And I was about to drive 40 miles through that stuff going to work. Nice.
When I got to the bottom of the hill exiting our subdivision, I glanced over at the stop sign and, thinking better of it, decided just to continue on through the deserted intersection. Nobody was on the road anyway. Only fools, right? Ha ha! Yeah . . .
Not stopping turned out to be a good choice. The going was kind of rough and I wasn't about to stop for anything. And then God provided something I desperately needed, as He often does. As I turned onto the road that led to the highway, that's when I saw them. Ruts.
Someone had traveled this next stretch of road before I did. There were ruts laid down through the snow, guiding me. I knew that as long as I stayed in the ruts, the path that had been marked out in front of me, I'd be alright. Unless of course the tire tracks suddenly veered off the road and into the ditch. I therefore decided to proceed slowly and cautiously and, eventually, I made it to work.
When I had come across those ruts in the road I said a brief prayer of thanks for the person who had gone through before me. It was through their efforts and struggles with the unplowed road that MY travels had been made easier. And I was grateful for that.
When I became a Christian a little over seven years ago, I was blessed to have someone in my life to lead me through the snow-covered roadways of MY faith. If I had questions, my friend was there to answer them, or at least point me in the right direction. It is SO valuable to someone who is new in their faith to have a mentor, a guide if you will. Someone to watch their footsteps, making sure they are set on the right path.
These days I now find myself in the role of a mentor. There are many young people in my life who are in the same situation that I was in when I first believed. They are new in their faith. And they are encountering more obstacles in life than just an un-plowed road. They need someone to guide them . . . to blaze a trail.
There is a lot of pressure being a mentor, someone who others look to for guidance. Just like that person creating a trail through the snow the other day, our own path as leaders and mentors must be correct and true or they will lead others falsly, perhaps even to some undesired destination.
So how do we as Christians, as mentors and leaders, know what is true? How do we know which is the right path to choose for those we are leading? The answer is simple. Follow the one, true leader of our faith . . . Jesus Christ. And always go to the one, true source of truth - God's Word. The Bible.
The universalists out there tell us that there are many paths to God. There are many different snow-covered roads. But just like the snowmobile trails I see every day on my way to work, they often lead right back to where they began. We must examine ouselves, and our walk with Christ, daily. One of my favorite verses:
"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" - 2 Corinthians 13:5
There are many paths out there, each offering their own form of afterlife. But there is only one true path that leads to heaven and that is through Jesus. Others will be following us, watching us, as we live out our faith, or lack thereof. Where are we leading the ones who are following? Here are a few words of advice . . . from God.
Matthew 6:33 - "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Proverbs 3:5 - "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding."
Matthew 6:13 - "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Proverbs 22:6 - "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
To summarize all these great verses, here are a few bumper sticker-like words for you. What is the best way to lead others? It's simple - Lead . . . by following.