Have you ever had a conversation that went something like this: “Honey, I think you are on the wrong road. I just saw the sign back there and we missed our turn about five miles back.” The husband answers, “Now, nothing to worry about. I know a shortcut that will save us a lot of time.”
The only problem is that the shortcut your husband knew about 20 years ago is no longer there, and the shortcut ends up being a much longer journey than if you had stayed with the main highway.”
Short-cuts usually end up costing you more time and money than if you stayed on the more traveled highway. Pastor Craig Clapper painfully learned that “hot tips” about getting to where you want to go can ultimately cost you dearly. That lesson was driven home when he was on a 54-day hike along the Appalachian Trail (a 2000+ mile stretch of mountainous terrain that reaches from Vermont to Georgia in the Eastern United States).
Here’s how Craig described his experience:
It took a life-threatening experience for me to understand the importance of traveling right. In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, there was a significant storm. I got a tip from another hiker that I could go off the main trail and work my way around the mountain, avoiding the worst of the storm. That side trail was a big mistake. I fell off a cliff and could have died. I got myself in a heap of trouble; I’ll have scars for the rest of my life from that fall. From that I learned that we must always travel right, never getting off the path God has for us.
Shortcuts come in all sizes and descriptions. They are an attempt to get you somewhere the easy way, to get something you do not deserve, or to avoid something which you ought to face. Life is a lot like a journey which involves a starting point and an ultimate destination—one that can be reached only one way.
I often think of the 40 year sojourn of God’s children in the wilderness. Actually the journey to Arad in the southern part of the Negev could have been made in less than 14 days (See Deuteronomy 1:2), but God has something else in mind, something they would learn only by facing the wilderness.
The King James translation of Romans 12:17 says we are to provide things “honest” in the sight of all men. Another translation put it, “Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.” And that means avoid the shortcut, the path to what you want or where you want to go which entails questionable means.
Would you be comfortable in flying on an airplane that was 98% safe, realizing that you are playing the odds which, of course, are in your favor but could capriciously let you down? Would you be just as uneasy if the inspector simply signed off on the safety record without actually making repairs which were vital to the safety of an aircraft?
Long ago William Shakespeare wrote, “To thine own self be true, and it shall follow as does day the night, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Living with your conscience, regardless of whether or not your “shortcut” becomes public knowledge, means doing the right thing, no matter who is watching.
Living without shortcuts means that you will someday stand in the presence of God with no regrets, no secrets, and no shame. It may be the longer path to where you want to go, but it is the surer one; of that you can be certain.
Resource Reading: Deuteronomy 1:1-8
Text: And so you stayed in Kadesh many days–all the time you spent there. Deuteronomy 1:46
 Craig Clapper, “A Delightful Pause,” Spirit of Revival, Spring, 2008, 28.
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – August 30, 2017