Mrs. S. and I love to explore the places where we are, so we do a lot of walking. In our new neighborhood, we recently discovered the sidewalk to nowhere. It begins across the street from our granddaughters’ school and curves off along a canal into a large, vacant tract of land.
The whole area is still under development, but what, we wondered, is the purpose of this sidewalk? What is its destination? So one day we decided to follow it.
The sidewalk runs along that stagnant canal and through an area that has become a dumping ground for excavated dirt, and trash and debris. There is a hint at least of clandestine activity out here—discarded beer and liquor bottles, and broken, abandoned things. Stolen, perhaps? Is that why there’s an abandoned grocery cart in the canal?
The sidewalk ends in the dirt (or mud, in season) about 50 yards from a back street in an industrial area.
Is this walkway part of some developmental master plan? Who knows. Right now, it’s just a useless side trip.
This path makes me wonder how many sidewalks to nowhere there are in my life.
When I choose to do something that I know God does not want me to do—when I sin willfully—I know I am taking the sidewalk to nowhere. The path is going to end in disappointment and worthless trash, and I run the risk of getting lost, unable to find my way back.
But what about the times when I simply have not thought out my course? Would I choose this path if I knew from the beginning that I would find only trash along the way and a nasty mud hole at the end?
What about the times when I set out on the path to acquiring more money or things? Has that ever ended in any lasting happiness?
What about the times when I set out to justify myself? “I was right and she was wrong.” “That other driver was a careless jerk.” “What I should have said to him was . . . .” There’s nothing worthwhile at the end of that path.
What about the times when my attitude was, “Father, I can handle this by myself”? When did that ever turn out well?
Standing here at the beginning, I can choose to follow this path, or I can turn to the right or left on one of the routes that lead to places of fulfillment—places where I can learn, and love, and be with family. They will be places where I can serve, instead of simply passing time.
If I choose the right path, ultimately it will take me Home.
The best way to choose is probably to ask myself, “Which path would the Master follow after saying, ‘Come, follow me’?”