One of my favorite singers is Steve Green. I have a lot of his music saved within the recesses of my cell phone. Recently, while walking along a trail in McCormick’s Creek State Park, I was reminded of one of his songs. The lyrics begin with….
“We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road,
and those who've gone before us line the way,
cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace.
The Chorus says…
O may all who come behind us find us faithful,
may the fire of our devotion light their way.
may the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe,
and the lives we live inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us find us faithful.
It was Isaac Newton who once confessed, "If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." Newton was giving credit to all the scientists who had added to human knowledge before him, making it possible for him to make his discoveries.
But old Isaac wasn’t the only one who had been blessed by the labors of others. As I was making my way along the well-trod foot path known as Trail #5, my thoughts were drawn to the men and women who had gone before me along this delightful path through the woods. What a gift an uncluttered walkway is. Rather than having to watch every single step, you can sojourn with eyes lifted to the beauty of God’s creation. Until, of course, you can’t!
As the trail descended, a stream of water cut through my path. In fact, water was flowing in a number of places across the trail. I stopped, mildly irritated. This obstacle threatened the dryness of my comfortable shoes and socks and maybe even more should I experience an attack of uncoordination! My journey hit the pause button… until I saw them! Perfectly spaced stones had been selected, carried and laid across the creek allowing for my safe, dry passage from one side to the other.
And as I continued on that day I encountered bridges someone had built so I could cross streams too deep for mere stones. I found sturdy stairs that enabled me to reach the tops of steep cliffs and boardwalks that kept my feet out of the mud and strategically placed benches to bring comfort to a tired hiker.
And as I sat on one of those benches, reflecting on this heaven sent lesson on gratefulness, I was moved to thank God for…
· …parents and grandparents who considered it important to introduce a young boy to Jesus Christ.
· …pastors and educators and scout leaders and godly church elders who set Christlike examples and inspired me become better acquainted with my Savior and His Holy Word.
· …authors of hundreds of books who have expanded my understanding of the Bible and enhanced my experience in the Christian life.
· …congregations who loved this preacher and, in spite of his faults, offered him opportunities to serve in ministry.
· …a wonderful family, supportive friends and so much more!
All of which, like well-placed stones in the pathway of life, have made my spiritual journey a delight. What a great debt I owe!
And so, in the spirit of appreciation, gratitude and thoughtfulness, I prayed that God wouldhelp me become someone who provides encouragement and support for those who may be walking along behind me.
As Steve Green concludes his song…
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run the race not only for the prize,
but as those who've gone before us, let us leave to those behind us,
the heritage of faithfulness passed on thru godly lives.
How about it? Let’s go place some stones!
-Rick Amerine is the Senior Pastor at Maple Grove Christian Church.