the weblog of Alan Knox

The Destination, the Journey, and Everything In Between

Posted by on Dec 17, 2011 in discipleship | Comments Off

The Destination, the Journey, and Everything In Between

When I went trail running for the first time a few weeks ago, we planned to run 3.5 miles into the trail to a point where the trail intersects a road. At that point, we rested for 5-10 minutes, then ran back the same 3.5 miles to our starting point.

During the first half of our run (the “out” portion of the “out and back” run), while I enjoyed the scenery and watched the path carefully, that 5-10 minute rest point started looming larger and larger. It was if that half-way mark became my destination and my entire purpose in running that day.

Of course, once we got to the road and stopped for a few minutes, I remember that I still had to run another 3.5 miles. Even though I had reached my mental “destination,” I had not reached my true destination.

In fact, as I was thinking about this on the run back to the starting point (the “back” portion of the “out and back” run), I realized something else. When I reached the “starting point,” while I would have reached another “destination,” that starting point was not my real destination either.

You see, I started running for several reasons. Similarly, I wanted to start trail running for some of those same reasons plus a few other reasons. In reality, those reasons were my “destination,” not a particular point on a trail or a road.

During the run itself, it is easy to lose sight of the real reason (purpose, goal, destination) in running and get caught up in a temporal destination. In fact, it’s possible to get so caught up in a temporal destination that you cause yourself to miss the real destination.

For example, I’ve heard of many runners who run for better health. But, they push themselves so hard on one particular race to have a great finish time or a great average pace that they end up hurting themselves in the process. They forfeit their real goal (better health) because of an injury sustained in order to complete a temporal goal (finish a single race with a certain time).

Obviously, this can happen in life too. We have all heard of people who want to work hard to provide for their family. But they end up working so much that they never spend time with their family or their family ends up falling apart.

Of course, the same thing happens among the church also. In fact, the church is EXCELLENT at setting temporal goals: a certain program or activity, a Bible study or discipleship meeting, a certain amount of money, etc. But, we must always remember that any temporal activity is just that: temporal. We must always keep our true destination in mind… once we know what that destination is.

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Spiritual Lessons from Trail Running

  1. Introduction: Spiritual Lessons from Trail Running
  2. Rocks and Roots and Leaves
  3. Leading from the front; leading from behind
  4. It’s a long, hard road, but we’re running it together
  5. Meeting other people on the journey
  6. The Destination, the Journey, and Everything In Between
  7. Look at your feet; look at the path; look further ahead