Lead the Way
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night." Exodus 13:21
While travelling recently, I was lost in an airport which I had visited several times before. There was some construction underway and the signs seemed contradictory. In my frustration, I stopped to ask an airport employee the way to the terminal check-in.
"Excuse me, sir. Would you be able to help me find Terminal 2?"
"Sure," he said. Go down around the curved walkway, take the first right. Then take an immediate left. When you come to the elevators on your right side, go up one floor. You can't miss it."
"Thank you so much!" I said.
Following what I remembered of the very kind gentleman's instructions, I ended up at an escalator rather than an elevator, encountering a sign which read, "Terminal 1." After asking another employee for the directions to Terminal 2, it seems I made a wrong turn along the way, and was now twice the distance from Terminal 2 as I was before. The kind man who gave me directions pointed the way, but he didn't lead the way.
As Christians, I think we often have a tendency to point the way rather than leading the way, too. When we do this, those who long to find and follow Jesus often get lost. We can give the very best instructions, but that's just not enough. It is failing to go the extra mile as Jesus taught us. We believe we are being helpful, but we forget that certain aspects of the way are familiar to us and not at all familiar to someone just beginning the journey.
Our Lord went before the Israelites, leading the way as they left Egypt. And He didn't just lead them during the day. Our Savior led them by night, too. Just as He leads us now.
When the way is dark and treacherous, are we leading the lost to find Him? If not me and you, then who?
"I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me." Psalm 16:7
It isn't enough to point the way. We must lead, as well.