Weekly Sabbath Survey
Highway or Stairway — 8-27-2016
Here is the U.S. we have words or sayings to describe how we live. One is “Life in the Fast Lane.” It’s an auto driving reference that speaks to our hurried lifestyle. Many of us are pushing to get ahead, passing up others who are more cautious or timid, or less cut throat, or don’t know how to butter up the boss. These among us who are moving fast seem to be always honking (tooting) their own horn as they go!
A good friend commented to me, “The fact that there’s a Highway to Hell and a Stairway to Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.” And, “degree of difficulty.” On the highway, you are riding along. On the stairway, you are having to climb, in the strength God gave you. No mechanical help! This makes for a slower pace and progress than riding to the destination. The highway is mostly flat and goes fast; the stairway is going UP and gets steeper and harder and slower the further you go.
People on Hell’s Highway are lost and moving reallly fast toward a very bad destination. But they sure are making good time! Sometimes they are even referred to by others as “driven.” They swerve back and forth constantly jockeying for a better position. This highway is crowded with people trying to get ahead of everybody in front of them and stay ahead of those behind. They race heedlessly along at breakneck speed. Risky Living, that. Every other driver is a competitor, maybe an enemy. If someone has an accident or a breakdown, most everybody else just keeps going. There is no roadside assistance on this highway. If a person ever stops for much of anything, it’s a quick pause for Happy Hour at the local watering hole, and on the road again. They have deadlines, projects, audits and all kinds of things to keep them going.
The people who take the stairs, are quite different. They go much slower and are more thoughtful about what their life is doing, how it’s going. They have deadlines and projects, but they also have plans that help them keep priorities straight. On the stairs, people are friendly. It’s never too crowded, and there are many opportunities to step off into wonderful peace and rest. The scenery is always to be admired. When the climber gets weary, there is always a place just ahead where a person can find a park bench or a hammock. They can take a nap on a quilt someone else has left, get some good food. And have conversations with other climbers. They may even speak with the Master of the Stairway privately!
Everybody who works for a living has occasions to get into the rat race, but if we keep to our standards in God, it won’t be the Highway to Hell. [Example, if a person is ‘sleeping their way to the top’ they are way beyond the rats and running with the devils!] There are saved and unsaved in the rat race, which is somewhere between the frenetic unprincipled Highway and the peaceful heavenly climb on the Stairway. Many Believers live in the rat race 6 days a week, then visit the stairs on Sunday. They may climb up a few steps, but they go back down to the rat race on Monday morning. Somebody said, “The trouble with the rat race is, even if you WIN, you’re still a rat!” There are times in that race that a Believer’s faith can be challenged or even attacked. We prove we are not rats by standing our ground, even at the risk of losing our job. It is possible to make a living in the world, without compromising our faith. And it is necessary to go where The Lost are so we might get a few of them saved! This way insures our progress up the stairs doesn’t have to start at the bottom every Sunday!
Another serious problem with this parable is people who are supposedly on the stairway full time, but live in the rat race anyway. Most of these are in what we call “full time ministry.” They are professional ministers for hire and part of the organized church system. They are paid to do what the people in the congregation don’t want to do: the ministry! Some of these guys are in full ‘fast lane’ mode with Rolex watches, expensive cars and mansion homes. There is something SO WRONG about the one man show with the crowd there to watch. Christianity was never supposed to be a spectator sport!! “Pastor Burnout” is the fault of both the people and the hero of the pulpit who lets them adore him.
It’s a blessing to serve the Lord going a a slower pace. It’s less stressful, even restful, than the ‘driven’ way of living. Here’s a chance to do a self-check: Is your life on a Highway or a Stairway?
It is better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction. –copied
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Copyright January 2016
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