The Pioneers

February 1, 2012
by Robin Ross

Hebrews 12:1-2 – Do you see what this means — all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running — and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed — that exhilarating finish in and with God — he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (MSG)

We don't usually get much snow in the corner of Canada where we live, but sometimes we really get it. That happened in January, when over a period of several days, we received successive dumps of snow, accompanied by a deep-freeze. Twice a week, I deliver a free community newspaper to two hundred homes. With eighteen inches (45 centimetres) of fresh snow underfoot, I faced an intimidating task. Fortunately, I didn't have to do my route for the first time until a day after the biggest snowfall, and most people had by then shovelled out their driveways and sidewalks, and most of the roads had been plowed. However, walking in and out every driveway, and along the street to the next driveway took twice as long as cutting across people's lawns as usual. When I did attempt the shortcuts through the deep snow, it put me quite out of puff.

Two days later, I had to do it all again. But this time, I noticed that the carrier for the competing newspaper had preceded me, and with more energy than I had, had trudged across the lawns through the deep snow. I discovered that if I placed my boots carefully in his tracks, I could negotiate the shortcuts without becoming out of breath.

I considered my spiritual walk in this light and thought about how much easier it is for us to live a life faithful to Christ when we follow carefully in the steps of those who have gone before us in the faith. We can always learn spiritual coping techniques from older and wiser Christians who have been through similar situations. We can do this through reading the biographies of Christians from other centuries, reading the testimonies of contemporary Christian authors, and fellowshipping with other Christians of like mind.

This learning opportunity places upon us a double responsibility. We need to be prepared to listen to and learn from those more experienced than we are, and we need to be ready to share with others what we have learned along the way. Many people go through life with the attitude, "Nobody's going to tell me what to do." This kind of pride is not beneficial to anyone. On the other hand, many seniors have the attitude, "Nobody will listen, so there's no use even trying to mentor anyone." Who knows whether there's someone out there who considers us to be a pioneer of the faith!

No matter where we are in our spiritual walk, we can be thankful that Jesus is the Pioneer of the faith. He's already been through what we're going through.

Hebrews 4:15 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (NKJV)

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You lead us and guide us through life's experiences, sometimes learning from others, sometimes sharing what we've learned. Incorporate us into Your overarching plan to shape Your church into the image of Christ. Amen.

About the author:

Robin Ross <rross@telus.net>
Mission, British Columbia, Canada

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