Pastor's Blog

Who do I see on the trail?

Polly and I went to Ontario County Park to walk some trails. It was our first time and we found the trail guide confusing.

He was a grandfather walking with two children, perhaps ages 9 and 11. He was over six feet tall, a shine of white stubble circled his head, sloped shoulders rolling under a faded shirt, baggy shorts and saggy legs. He had a welcoming grin. He moved slowly, as if walking from the kitchen to the living room.

"Excuse me, but are you familiar with this park? We are looking for the 'Jumping Off Point.'"

"We are going there. I'll show you." I thought, "Great!" ... initially.

Grandfather gave us a history of Ontario County, South Bristol, Naples and grape pies. When the young ones distracted him we were delivered from his kindness. Polly said, "Now you know how your children feel when they ask you a question."

Ha ha ha.

Polly was right and her gentle humor exposed me. I would've been grateful for one decisive pointed finger. I wasn't interested in all the land along Route 64. Grandfather, I felt, had wasted my time. I bristle when someone wastes my time. Or, at least, when I think someone wastes my time.  

I am probably not the most discerning judge about wasting time. Grandfather was kind. He was taking his grandchildren for a walk. They seemed to enjoy the man. Why couldn't I?

There are too many answers for a single blog post. But the main reason is that I did not see the man. I saw a dispenser of information God had put on that trail that day for me. Did I even see a person? In my impatience, probably not.

I need to see a person as a person. I need to see a person before I jump to seeing them for what they can do for me. I need to see less of me and more of others. God help me, but I've got a long way to go on this particular trail.

Posted by Tim Alexander with

The "from-now-on" change

About ten straight miles on US 67 in Arkansas in a borrowed Datsun 280Z. 120 miles per hour. I was coming back from a wedding in Little Rock. I retain no memory of the wedding. Youthful thrill morphing into awakened fear at 120 MPH: that I remember! I was foolish. I abused the trust of the friend who loaned me his car. I wanted to be fast. I wanted to be … “quick.”

“Quick” is far too important to me. Most of my life’s wounds have been self-inflicted by … “quick.” Spoke too soon. Expected too much. Waited too little. Gave up too easily.  Listened too late. I confess an ever-present restlessness, a desire to move on to the next thing. Any semi-competent therapist could peel me like a grape. A couple have … thank God!

Peter was the “Apostle of Quick.” Saint Reactive! Peter was often the first to act and with mixed results. He walked on the water, but sank. (Mt. 14) Peter answered for Jesus about loyalties (does He pay the Temple tax?), but answered clumsily. (Mt. 17). Peter’s “quick-ness” is, sadly, well known in his denials. (Mt. 26)

But Jesus knew what He was doing. “Do not be afraid; from now on,” Jesus told Peter, “you will be catching men.” (Lk. 5) From Now On is open ended. There’s no ticking clock to inject pressure. No ‘next thing’ to serve as a distraction … or an excuse.

Jesus never drove a 280Z at a 120 miles per hour or any other speed. He walked. Miles and miles. House to house. Hill to hill. His disciples walked with Him. Their best exchanges, their most bracing insights, came in the course of one day’s walk. Jesus changed their lives by letting them in to His walking journey.

Saul on the Road to Tarsus is the exception. The pace at which Jesus most often changes a life is a walking pace. A walking pace is a, “come and see” pace and a “being transformed into His likeness” pace.

Resist your need for speed this week, especially as it concerns your soul. Just walk with Jesus. Just do that.

Pastor Tim


Posted by Tim Alexander with