People of the Trail
By Stephen Carpenter
Our holiday had a rocky start. Delayed flights. Missed flights. Lost baggage. Rocks breaking the windshield on the rental car. And then, it rained…and rained and rained. Rain is not the ideal when you travel to one of the most beautiful places on earth to take in God’s handiwork. The mountains of Banff National Park are amazing, when you can actually see them.
But the weather broke and we made it to the trail. Ours is a hiking family. We love to be in the wilderness and climb mountains. Seeing wildlife and unspoiled vistas makes for a perfect day. People of the trail appreciate it as well. People of the trail are the folks you meet as you hike. They are unlike people of the cities or people of the towns. People of the trail share a common bond. They share a common heart. On our first day of hiking we met people from all over the world. There were Asians and Germans and Australians and Latin Americans and many more.
People of the trail differ from other people because they look you in the eye as they pass. They speak. They wish you well. They engage in conversation. Those coming down the trail share advice with those ascending. They talk of their experience and ask about yours. People of the trail also share what they carry in their packs. Need water? Need a Band-aid? Need to look at a map? People of the trail are happy to oblige.
As I was taking in the spectacular scenery of Johnston Canyon,
I couldn’t help but wonder, shouldn’t Christians be people of the trail? We live in a lonely world where people cast aside their gaze as they pass. People keep their focus tightly upon themselves. And like some who are trying to climb in altitude, many people on life’s journey are in pain. People everywhere need people of the trail—they need Christians.
Christians are always looking out for others. They are friendly and full of joy. They share encouraging words. They see God’s handiwork everywhere they look and they are sure to point it out. Christians give direction by living like Jesus and modeling his life for others. And Christians heal with comforting words and prayers that impact.
Maybe life in the fast lane hasn’t been all it is cracked up to be? Maybe the road more traveled has been full of bumps and potholes? Maybe, just maybe, it is time to find a trail and rub shoulders with the people who hang out there. Maybe it is time to find some Christians and climb life’s mountains together. SC
Used by permission of Stephen Carpenter
Senior Pastor, Christ’s Church @ Whitewater,