A mother went into a local discount store to buy a compass for her 12 year old son who was going on a camping trip. When she asked a clerk where the compasses were, the mother was directed to the school supplies section. She searched for a few minutes, but was unable to find a compass. Frustrated she returned to the clerk and said, “I looked on all the shelves, but I cannot find any compasses over there.” “Oh,” the clerk responded, “you want something that will show directions. We have compasses for making circles, but not for going places.”
Friends, a lot of people get confused between making circles and going places. Many of us are into a pattern where we get up in the morning, go to work, come home and watch television, go to bed, get up in the morning, go to work, come home and watch television, go to bed, get up in the morning…etc. If that is pretty much all we are doing, we are making circles, not going places.
Yet, this is not how life is meant to be lived! The Bible tells us the reason we are on this planet is to honor the Lord and serve other people. This means that when we get up in the morning, rather than just getting ready for work, we ought to take time to express our praise to God and take time to listen to him as we read the Bible. When we go to work, rather than just putting in our time to get a pay check, we should seek to find ways to encourage and help our co-workers. When we come home in the evening, rather than planting ourselves in front of the T.V. (or computer screen), we ought to spend time with our family and share our love with them. As we go to bed at night, rather than merely plunking our head on the pillow, we should take to time to pray and express our gratitude and our concerns to the Lord. If we do these things, we are moving in a direction God desires, rather than just going in circles.
Remember, however, that “it takes guts to leave the ruts.” Even if we find little satisfaction in a circular pattern, it is often easy to keep following it. When we focus on honoring the Lord and serving other people, God may lead us on paths which take us out of our comfort zone. Yet, in whatever challenges we encounter, he promises to give us the courage and grace we need. As we move toward the destination the Lord has for us, we will often realize that even though the going is not always easy, it does beat just going in circles.
Yours, striving by Christ’s grace to follow Him,
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church