Along the Way
May 11, 2009 by Dave Condit | 0 Comments
Last week for one of my classes, we went on a backpacking trip. The idea was that we would load up for several days in the back country and hone our ministry leadership skills and techniques to help prepare us to lead groups in the future. The instructor had a master plan about where we were going to go to include drop-off, detailed route, and pick-up point. We would be going for several miles each day and covering some distance through the Colorado mountains.
Although we had had great weather for several of our previous adventures, this time things did not look so good. A spring storm was brewing. Having made many trips in the wilderness in all conditions, I came prepared for the worse. I carried the necessary gear to keep me alive if we were to get snowed in for days. I was excited for the challenge.
We met at a Christian camp about 45 minutes from school. I was the last to arrive due to some work requirements, and the class was gathered in a cabin. As soon as I walked in, several students informed me that our trip was cancelled. Some showed disappointment while others were clearly relieved. To be completely honest, I fell far to the side of feeling like we would be missing a great chance to get out there and cover some distance.
After some discussion, we came up with an alternate plan. Many of the students still wanted to get the experience of loading up for a trip and striking off into the woods. The Christian camp owns quite a bit of land, so we decided to distribute food, load our packs and start hiking. To mitigate the risk of a potentially bad storm, our intended destination was about 100 yards behind the cabin. We would hike around the property for a few hours to end up within shouting distance of cabin. Once done hiking, we would set up camp.
I'm not sure my internal attitude matched my external smile as we started on our hike. I had pretty low expectations as we left the cabin. Interestingly, I soon forgot about what I was missing. I talked and joked and hiked along in the company of some Godly friends and soon forgot about the destination. We shared stories and stopped for photos. I learned some things about my classmates and shared some new things with them. We arrived at a suitable camp site after a while and set up. We shared a meal and talked for hours. We slept on the ground and woke up early to share more conversation. After a while, I remembered that we hadn't really gone anywhere. I realized that maybe it was the process and experience and not so much the distance and destination that mattered.
I really struggle with this concept in ministry. I keep wanting to make my ministry about how far I travel and the spectacular destination. I think God cares more about how I walk than how far I go. I took my final semester of Greek this spring and was assigned James 4:13-17 as my verses to study. I studied them a lot. I wrote a 60 page paper on those five verses. I took my final exam today, and it all seems like a blur. However, there is one thing that I think I see more clearly. James 4:15 says, "Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'" The "this or that" really stands out to me as intentionally vague. The process and experience along the way seems pretty important. When I stop trying to get somewhere for God, He seems to get to me. It matters as much (if not more) how I travel than where I go for God.