Life is a journey. Life is a hike from our City of Destruction to the Celestial City. But no matter how the journey unfolds along the path, it has a beginning point. In Jesus’ imagery, the journey begins at the gate. In my imagery, the hike begins at the trailhead.
Everyone’s trailhead is a little different. For some, we started the journey on our mother’s knee at a young age. For others it starts after a difficult time in the teenage years, and perhaps in the midst of those difficult times you met a friend who started to walk with you. For others the trailhead is much later, after you have sampled life and found it lacking. Our trailheads can often look quite different.
However all of our trailheads have many things in common, and today I want to talk about what we all have in common. As you start your journey as a follower of Jesus, or if you are just thinking about it, or if you are walking with a new traveler, it is important that we have the same understanding of what the trailhead looks like; otherwise it will become confusing on down the path.
One of the defining moments in my life was when I was in graduate school. I was waiting for the bus, and a young coed asked if I was one of those “Divinity” students. (That’s what it is called in Scotland.) I said yes, and she asked if I were a Christian. I said yes, and she responded, “What is a Christian?” Much to my shame, I had never thought through a quick and decisive answer. I was working on a Ph.D. but had not thought through this most important of all questions. The bus came in two minutes and she got on.
I didn’t go to the office that day. I went back to the dorm and started reading and praying, working on an answer I could give in two minutes. I spent much of the next day looking for her on campus but never found her.