I am usually that person on a road trip who is determined to get to our destination with as few stops as possible. When I drive long distances I follow the hard-fast rule that we only stop when I need to get gas and instruct passengers to adjust things accordingly. People with small bladders should never road trip with me, we’d likely stop being friends by the time the trip was over.
I feel like there are two types of people in this world: those who are on a mission to get to the destination and those who just enjoy the journey. In case you haven’t yet guessed it, I am the former.
For me, this doesn’t just apply to road trips, but to life in general. I am a very high achiever, I like to get things done, and I love crossing things off my to-do list. While I’m a contemplator and am always thinking and planning, I’m also getting things done. I often struggle to work with people who love to talk because their relationship-building gets in the way of my completing tasks.
Jesus loved to stop.
The gospels contain story after story about Jesus stopping for those who were in need. He would turn aside and notice someone who was hurting. When the crowd encircled him, wanting his attention, he willingly gave it. Had I been traveling around with Jesus, I would’ve become quickly annoyed at his consistent pausing to do ministry. Lord, help me!
But I have been learning that a change of perspective is in order. Life isn’t about getting to a destination, it truly is all about the journey. Loving the Lord and walking closely with him isn’t about getting a certain grade or achieving certain things, it’s about sharing God with the world.
In keeping with the road trip analogy, Jesus’s method of life was driving the biggest bus possible and allowing everyone to get on who wanted to come. Even if he knew the person would get off the bus or would try to derail the bus, he still let them on. He knew his mission was about building relationship with these people and loving them well. If I had it my way, I would be in a small aerodynamic vehicle, booking it on the freeway as fast as my car could carry me. I would stop as little as possible and divert my eyes when a hitchhiker would appear in my view. I would do the trip alone, music blaring, snacks filling the passenger seat, making my journey as comfortable and quick as possible.
But Jesus loves the scenic route.
I’m learning that traveling through life is something that’s better when you’re with others. If you’re speeding down the freeway as quickly as possible, it’s fun for a little while, but it’s resoundingly unfulfilling. Now I’m trying to take a page out of Jesus’s book and slow down. While I’m still achieving and crossing things off my list, now I’m taking people with me. Instead of feeling inconvenienced when someone wants me to stop, I’m choosing to see it as an opportunity for joy. If a friend I’m journeying through life with wants to stop somewhere and get a bite to eat or take the scenic route, I will indulge them.
I encourage you to find your community. Find your tribe. Find those who you want to road trip with and enjoy the journey. If you’re like me and you’ve been driving 1,000 MPH in your little two-door coup, it might be time to trade in your vehicle for something with a few more seats.
Here’s to traveling like Jesus!