I used to live across the street across from a young man named Addison. Addison is a person with a bright ministry future. He is very talented in leading worship and speaking to teenagers. Young people are drawn to him, as he is a natural leader. He would be a great preacher; in fact, there are a lot of things that he could do for the kingdom of God. After graduating from college, he got a lot of job offers from churches. But instead of taking a big job in a church, Addison took a walk.
Addison decided to hike the Appalachian Trail last year. Starting out in Maine on July 6, 2010, Addison and a friend walked all the way to Georgia. They completed their journey on December 12. The 2,179-mile trail took them just over 5 months (158 days). Most people told Addison to go get a ministry job and do big things for God, but Addison chose a less traveled path. He chose to spend months alone with the Lord, soaking up His amazing creation and learning to trust in Him, even for his very survival. He endured blazing summer days to sub-freezing snowstorms. He grew tired and weary walking mountain trails. He met new people and they quickly became good friends. Hazards on the trail brought them together in a special way. In fact, each friend he met got hurt at some point on the journey and Addison had to help get them to a hospital. Addison got hurt as well, and his friends took care of him.
Addison had to learn to trust in the Lord every day. In five months on the Appalachian Trail, he stayed in different places, saw new faces and met adventures head on. This time alone with God changed him. He read almost 50 books. He prayed. He sang. He worshipped the Lord at sunsets. He laughed a lot and cried at times. He and his hiking partner were filled with joy, and at other times they were completely miserable. But through it all, Addison embraced the experience. In fact, the hardest part of the hike was on December 12 when the journey was coming to an end, because he knew it was over.
Maybe the most important thing we can do is embrace the journey God has for us. Many of us are anxious to run out and do “great things” for God. It is easy to forget that God does not need us; we need God. Our focus should be on knowing Jesus….not on how many things we can do for Him. We need to know Him and embrace our relationship with Him before we can hear His voice and step out to do those great things He may have for us to do. The greatest command that He gave us as believers is to go and make disciples. We must remember that our first step in making disciples is being intentional in our own growth as a believer. Interestingly, Jesus did not even start his public ministry until He was 30 years old. He delayed his public ministry to spend time with the Father. He spent plenty of time in the wilderness in fellowship with God. And look at folks from the Bible such as Moses, Noah, and Paul. They all spent time waiting on the Lord, growing in their own faith. We tend to look at the great things they did, but the real story is their time spent with God.
Remember that we can’t take another step or breathe another breath of air without Jesus in our lives. The Lord will let you know when it’s time to take that big job or do that next big thing. He will provide what you need when it’s time to do that. But first, let’s stop and be intentional about truly being closer to Jesus every day.
Today Addison teaches young people about missions. I bet he still takes some pretty nice walks .
Invest in the few, change the world