“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” This rather well-known saying comes from either Lewis Carroll or George Harrison (depending upon which source that you believe). Now being that we travel in a truck for a living, this saying could be very near and dear to my husband and I. We could ponder and internalize the meaning of this saying for a significant amount of time. We could philosophize with others about this saying for years upon years.
Being that we haul Broadway shows, we are keenly aware that our load is always time sensitive. So, for us, we must know where we are going. In our line of work it’s vital and prudent for us to say that “any road” will not do. We need to carefully calculate just how long it will take us to drive the distance that we must cover (it’s not uncommon for us to drive 1,000 miles, or 1,600 km, in less than 24 hours). As such, we must have the very best information at hand so that we can make the best decisions. We must study the route options. We look at the weather. We look at road conditions. We plan for driving through (or around) big cities during high-traffic volume times of the day. We look at maps. We consult other drivers about the route they plan to take. We use satellite images to see the best way to approach the theater to which a show is arriving. And in certain cities, such as downtown Chicago, we have to plan around curfews – times in which big trucks are not allowed on the roadways (I’m just learning about these). Suffice it to say that we pretty much consider and consult every resource that we have available when making a trip. If even one tractor/trailer for a show is late (some shows have as many as eight to ten trailers [each 53 feet long] – and some larger shows have even more), the ability for the performance to take place is endangered. If the show doesn’t go on, you’ve disappointed people who have paid their hard-earned money to see a live production from some of the most creative and talented people around. We take our motto of “Let’s get the show on the road” very seriously. People are depending upon us.
So, it’s safe to say that any road will not do for us, not in my personal line of work, and not in my life either – especially in my faith life. Despite what well-meaning people say, we know that we cannot take any road and end up in Heaven. I’ve heard people say, “I’m a good person” in the context that should be enough to get them into their eternal heavenly home. Our society is inundated with this concept that if our good outweighs our bad we’ll end up in “the good place” after our time on this world is done. Just this past week, I was looking for a little respite of entertainment, so I started Netflix. As I was looking around I spotted a television show that I thought I might watch. It appeared to deal with faith. So I tuned in the debut episode of The Good Place (further research revealed that it is an NBC sitcom that is currently in it’s third season). In this show the main character Eleanor dies and goes to “the good place.” One there, she asks “Michael” which of the worlds religions got it right. Michael informs her that that no religion got it completely right when imagining what the afterlife would be like. “Every religion guessed about 5 percent right,” he says. He goes on to explain that life is like a point system, you get graded on the good and bad things that you’ve done. If you obtain a certain score you get to go to “the good place.” However, they made a mistake, and Eleanor should have ended up in the other place (probably called “the bad place”). Needless to say, within the first five minutes of the show, I turned it off. I even went into my Netflix account and took it off of my recent viewing history, so that I would not see it popping up again in their “continue watching” section.
Yet, it’s not only the popular television culture that espouses this idea. We hear it from other people too. So many people want to believe in “the good place,” the system by which they earn points for all the good things that they do. They think if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds they’ll end up in Heaven. But we know that this philosophy couldn’t be farther from the truth. Think about it, just who then decides whether your good deeds outweighs your bad? If you are not a Christian (and maybe even if you are Christian) your standard of good behavior could, and probably does, look very different than my standard. I could be a free wheeling person who believes that pretty much everything is ok in my faith. You could be a person who follows a rather legalistic view of your faith. We would never be able to agree on who qualifies to go to “the good place.” I once had (place a heavy emphasis on the word “had”) a friend that was greatly insulted by my view, and the Bible, when we had a discussion whether her non-believing husband would go to heaven because he’s a good person.
Yet, our Savior Jesus, and the Bible, tells us that there’s only one way to an eternal life in Heaven, and that’s through Him. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, ESV). Paul tells us “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26, ESV). You cannot do anything to earn your salvation, you can’t get into Heaven by good works.
But, if you don’t know the truth, you’ll never be able to spot the lies of the world when it comes to your eternal salvation. You won’t know when false teachers give you misleading information. Just like we study the routes to take when we are delivering a show into the next venue, you need to do likewise in building and growing your Christian faith. You must invest the time with God, with God’s Word, with the Holy Spirit. You need to know these things for your peace of mind, and your Christian witness to others. If you don’t, you could easily lead others down the wrong road.
So, just like any road won’t do in my professional life, it won’t do in your faith life, if your ultimate desired destination is to spend eternity in Heaven. Again, Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
I’m sticking to the narrow road and gate, how about you?
Believing God, trusting God, adoring God, walking with God, growing with God, confessing to God, talking with God, listening to God, learning with God – it’s the Heart of the Journey ❤️