During a recent prayer retreat, I walked and prayed along the driveway that leads to the farm/retreat center. It was previously the bed for a railroad track. As such, it’s very level and nearly straight for more than a mile. On both sides of the drive, though, there are valleys and hills. The land goes up and then drops back down. To make this section so level and straight, lots of work had to be done before railroad tracks could be laid.
Thinking about this caused me to reflect on those who have gone before me and, in some respects, paved the way. Of course, I am grateful for those listed in the great “Hall of Faith,” Hebrews 11. But I’ve been thinking a lot about those who have been in closer proximity to me, both in terms of distance and time.
I am grateful, for example, for the couple that owns the farm/retreat center where I took the prayer retreat. Their teaching ministry in the area—and around the world—has impacted thousands of believers, including me. I’m also very thankful for my pastor whose teaching has made no end of difference in my life and ministry. From a bit farther back, two high school teachers come to mind. One taught history and government, the other taught art. Both of their lives impacted me in ways they never could have imagined. The worship teachers who went before me, most notably—from my perspective—were Bob Weber and Judson Cornwall. They laid a very firm foundation on which to build.
These, and certainly many others—too many to mention here—have pioneered the way for me and for other people. They went ahead clearing the branches and brambles, evening out the hills and valleys, making our job a bit easier. And it strikes me that there were others, though I can’t name names, who did that for them. But it also strikes me that you and I are doing that for those who are coming behind us. I don’t know with certainty who all of those people will be who will walk the path that I have helped to clear. But I pray that my work here and now will make their job and life easier.
Are you aware that you are helping to pave the way for those who come behind you? Do your best—by His grace—to make that straight and narrow path clear of obstacles.