Story of the Day for Monday September 19, 2011
There Are No Shortcuts
The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “I will give you all these if you fall down and worship me.”
Every now and then, my kids will say, “Yes, but wouldn’t that be like one of Dad’s shortcuts?” Among my children, I live in infamy as a cautionary tale.
I earned my reputation through a bold, intrepid spirit and a good dose of stupidity. Our family loves to hike in the wilderness. I am a bushwhacker and love to get off trail to investigate the lay of the land. Invariably, I will say something like, “Hey, kids, I think I know a shortcut. If we climb that cliff, we can reach that draw up there, then drop down into the Spotted Bear basin, and we’ll hit the trail to Dean Falls.”
At the time, it always seems like such a good idea. But, invariably, we discover we have wandered into a box canyon, or into brush and downed timber so dense you can barely move.
Now, just because my past shortcuts have been debacles, does that mean that they will be disastrous in the future? Unfortunately, yes. The trails in the wilderness are where they are for a reason. I will always be a bushwhacker, but I am slowly learning that my shortcuts inevitably will involve more time and effort than taking the trail. Nancy Dornan put it well, “The longest distance between two points is a shortcut.”
The Lord provides the best trail to our destinations in life. Yet, we have known, through painful experience, the foolishness of trying to take shortcuts. No matter how many times our shortcuts to going God’s way have failed, we still retain the illusion that this time, our dishonesty, or our greed, or our laziness will work to our advantage.
The devil offered Jesus a shortcut. He came to this earth to become Lord and King of the people of this fallen planet? Very well, the devil had an easy way to win them. If Jesus would simply kneel in reverence to the devil, the kingdoms of this world would be his. No need for suffering. No need to be spiked to a cross.
It was a shortcut, all right. But what would he be Lord of? He would rule over a sinful, dark world and would now become a part of it.
Jesus did not simply come to be our King; he came to bring us into the kingdom of light. He came to rescue us from this evil realm and take us home.
And, for Jesus to do that for us, there are no shortcuts.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)