After this he [Jesus] went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
Luke 5:27-28 (ESV)
Most hikers follow trails created by those who were willing to be the first to walk into the woods, the hills, the wilderness, or the mountains, and cut through the brush to create a path where others could follow. There is something comforting about a trail, for it means someone has been there before us, and most likely someone will come behind us.
A benefit for contemporary hikers is the additional information available that defines the difficulty of the path, from easy to extreme. We can choose how hard we are willing to work, how far we are wanting to go, and to what extent we are open to risking our life.
A New Trail
When Jesus came to earth and began His ministry, He broke a new trail. He invited people to go with Him to a place where no one had been before. He broke through the brush of sin, sickness, loneliness, hatred, prejudice, and evil, creating a path to peace, joy, hope, and love. Wow. Wouldn’t you think this is a path that everyone would want to travel? But history has confirmed few travel the path Jesus created. For although Jesus always leads the way, and the path is accessible to all, regardless of age, health, skill, education, means, lifestyle, or language, most recognize His path is one of extreme difficulty, requiring complete commitment to give up one’s life to walk it.
It’s sad, but we are afraid to give up our sin for a life of peace, hope, joy, and love. We are comfortable in our sin. Our sin requires little commitment, little effort, and is so natural to us we cannot imagine walking any other way.
The rewards of following Jesus on the revolutionary path He created are profound beyond imagining. The apostle Paul wrote in Eph. 3:20-21, many years ago, Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Not every trail is worth the risk of our lives, but the path Jesus created is the only path with rewards that last through our lifetime and into all of eternity.
This Christmas, may we choose the path Jesus has cut for us, and may many choose to go with us for this journey of a lifetime.