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forkintheroadTwo roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

I wonder how many times a day we are standing at a fork in the road. Standing at a decision point where we can take one of two paths. The poem by Robert Frost illustrates this point but from a perspective that both ways look similar, but choosing a way that looks less traveled has made “all the difference”.

It seems that when I come to a fork in the road, I hardly realize that I am at a decision point because the path that I take has been so well-trodden that another option is barely recognizable. My decisions are so well conditioned that I can scarcely do otherwise.

This past Christmas season I became more determined to approach what would have been a challenging time, with the hustle and bustle of being out and about, preparing for friends and family, and the stress of trying (ironically) to relax and enjoy the season. I wanted to turn the tide of having it be all about my wants and what I needed to do to have this perfect utopia of Christmas bliss.

For me, it all starts with stepping out the door. I can be a bit single-minded when I go out to stores and out on the roads. I just want to go from point A to point B, get what I need, and get back home. Anything hindering that endeavor becomes an irritant. This well-worn path leaves few options.

I made a determined effort to be more observant of others and their needs and challenges—to look for another path from my single-mindedness. Because, just maybe, they are having the same challenges as I am, and maybe it is not all about me anyways. Was I exemplifying any Christian virtues when I was out in the world? Would God be proud of me?

This verse came to mind:

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:15-16)

I began wondering if anyone recognized that I have a light. At times, I wondered if I even HAD a light. If I did, was it on? What makes me different from anyone else when I am out in public? Is it noticeable? I didn’t like the answers I was hearing from myself.

So now, when I was out and about, I was asking myself, Is my light on? Would anyone know? It had an effect. I wanted to have my light shine for Christ, not for me. I didn’t want to be the guy you couldn’t pick out of a line-up if you had guess which one is the Christian!

It wasn’t anything major—a smile here, a door held there—but I could see the impact of these small acts. And I felt better. Small seeds were being planted, while others were being watered. The fog was lifting from my own single-mindedness. The more mindful I was of others, the easier it was to give them a break. To see the hurried, stressed expressions on their faces was now something I could empathize with. I wanted this season to better for them.

Maybe that’s how the light gets out. A small crack and the fog begins to burn off. When the light shines, it shines on others, and you begin to see them clearly as well. So not only does it emanate from you, it illuminates the way to others.

How such a small act can lead to such an awakening is really quite amazing. I think that was the key for me—to act. The feelings and the revelations came afterward. I had faith that things could be different, and then I combined that with action. That made it real.

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)

When I reflect back, the Christmas season went a little smoother for me. I tried to make sure to ask myself regularly if I was at least making life a little easier for those around me. Was I reflecting the attributes of God, and was HIS light shining through me? Was I reflecting HIS goodness? Were others being drawn to HIM through me?

I think I made some progress, but the challenge is to keep that attitude and action beyond the holiday season. What will it look like in July? Will I still be struggling with this then? My hope and belief is that it will become a more permanent part of my makeup.

It is also clear that I don’t have to go on a mission trip half way around the world to know that I am making a difference for God. I can walk out the door and make a difference right where I am.

My hope for you is that you may find ways to make those small changes in your life that will draw you closer to God and reflect the goodness and graciousness of HIM to the world around you. And may you slow down, look around, yield to others, and take the road less traveled.

jonlarson sig

Jon Larson
cfaith staff

Author Biography

Jon Larson
Web site: cfaith
I am a father of four and husband to an awesome wife. I have been called to work in the Information Technology department for Living Word Christian Center and cfaith in Minneapolis, MN since 2001, and I oversee them both. My goal is to use technology to make real connections between people.

About Us

The online ministry of cfaith has been helping people discover faith, friends and freedom in the Word since 2000. Cfaith provides a unique and comprehensive collection of faith-building resources for the worldwide faith community.

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