At Work & Theology 101

There Is No Going Back

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This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

– Jeremiah 6:16

Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure that you wanted to go on but you knew you couldn’t go back?

Last month, my wife and I had the privilege of traveling to Maui to attend an annual conference held by the Fellowship of Companies for Christ International. We arrived a couple of days early and set out to explore the island.

We were staying on the west side of Maui and arrived at our hotel via the well-traveled southern Highway 9. We planned to travel to the other side of the island, and a quick look at the map showed an interesting road around the northern end of the island called the Kahekili Highway. We decided to take it.

We noticed there wasn’t much traffic, and then we remembered what one fellow traveler had written about this highway:

There’s a good reason not many travelers take this road. West Maui’s rugged north shore was almost included on my list of Things-I-Will-Never-Do-Again. Kahekili Highway (Route 340) has the hairy hairpin turns, the steep oceanside drops, and the narrow one-lane sections that make you think,“This might be my last scenic view ever.” Many car rental companies advise you not to take this road, something we did not know. Imagine having that awkward phone conversation with the rental clerk: You’ll find the car somewhere on Kahekili Highway. Yeah, the place you advised us not to go. The car is down below mile marker 16. Just peer over the cliff, but be careful—there’s no guardrail. Great view, though.

Indeed, West Maui’s north shore has some of the most ravishingly beautiful ocean and coastline combinations in the world. Some quotes from reviewers on the travel website TripAdvisor describe the view:

  • “Beautiful views but you cannot enjoy them because your heart is in your throat.”
  • “Spectacular views, but the scariest and most dangerous drive you will likely ever do. Think VERY seriously before you subject yourself and family to this terrifying drive.”
  • “The U.S. version of the Bolivian Highway to Hell…once you are in, it is almost impossible to change your minds [sic] and head back, as there is simply no space to do so.”

The whole trip was just under sixty miles, but it took my wife and I over four hours!

The life journey of Christian stewardship is like a drive on the Kahekili Highway. There are many hairpin curves without any guardrails, but beyond each curve is a beautiful view of God’s grace that we could have never imagined.

John Newton, whose own perilous journey took him from slave trader to pastor, wrote these lines over two hundred years ago.

Through many dangers, toils and snares/I have already come/’Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far/and Grace will lead me home.

There are times when all of us are sure that we just can’t go any farther, yet we know we can’t go back. We find ourselves in a similar place to the disciples in the Gospel of John. After Jesus gives a particularly difficult teaching, many of Jesus’ followers leave him. He turns to his disciple and asks, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Simon Peter answers him,

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.

For those of us who have tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age (Hebrews 6:4-5), there is no going back.

Sitting in the middle of the road is also not an option. We must push forward, following the road God has called us to travel. I’m reminded of the example set by the Apostle Paul, who left us these encouraging words from Philippians 3:14, words that can keep us moving along the Kahekili Highway of life:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Let us press on.

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