By Pastor William K. Smith, Trinity Chapel, Little Falls
Every road leads to Rome.
You’ve heard that statement, right? A similar statement is very prevalent today — every religion leads to God or heaven.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Certainly, with today’s transportation technology one can reach Rome, or Britain, or Israel, or South America— even the South Pole— from any location.
We occasionally make trips to other areas of the country — and sometimes we take a different route than we might normally use. No matter how many times we have driven to Denver or Atlanta, we still check the map each time we begin a trip. We can opt to choose a scenic route or, most likely, choose the freeway to Atlanta, or LA, or Denver or Des Moines, or Buffalo. But just to get to the freeway there is some planning that must be done. It would be utterly foolish to just start driving with no knowledge of the route and expect to reach a given destination without many unnecessary hardships.
First of all, where is the freeway and which route is the best? MapQuest or Google will show you the shortest route. But, have you ever tried the shortest route and found yourself going through small town after small town with 20-30 miles per hour speed limits, traffic lights, pedestrians or farm equipment to slow you down and raise your blood pressure?
An amusing example of the shortest route: My wife and I along with our daughter and son-in-law were going from Atlanta to the home of some relatives in North Georgia so we set the GPS for the shortest route. Things were going well when we were instructed to take a certain road. We didn’t feel very comfortable about it but after all it was GPS. This road turned out to be a logging trail and we wound around and around, sometimes practically able to see our tail lights while going around a curve. We drove over roots and ruts, mountains of pine cones and other debris, until we finally reached a relatively comfortable road that finally took us to our destination.
Next, avoid toll roads. This one has cost us more than the tolls would have cost. Not only in time but in money. For example, the distance is often somewhat longer and often you find yourself going through small towns, or even no towns at all.
There is nothing like driving through wide open spaces, the gas tank bell goes off, the light comes on, with no gas station in sight. I remember one night when our children were small we spent several hours in front of a gas pump in a closed service station — in the middle of nowhere, Montana. The tank was on empty and we were still miles away from even a chance of a gas station. And we weren’t alone. Before morning several cars joined us. Fortunately, the local sheriff notified the manager of the station and he came and opened the station early so that we could get on our way.
Once, for some reason we ran two different sets of driving directions (from two different sources) for the same destination and then took both of them with us. We were following one set of directions and soon found that we did not know which direction to take. This set of directions had completely left out a portion of the trip so we switched to the correct set of directions and safely arrived at our destination.
When you think about this, there are some rather deep spiritual implications in each incident, but the point I want to make is that yes, all roads lead to God — but only if you remember that there is one destination that must be reached first. There may be a lot of winding roads and hazards until you reach the right road.
John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. The only way to get to the Father (God) is by Me. He had said earlier in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enters in he shall be saved.’
From Little Falls I can get to the airport without going the most reasonable way. But when I do get to the airport there is no way I can board a plane without first going through the airport gate. This is all Jesus is saying. To get on that plane to heaven you have to go through Him first.
So, the question is, “What is your destination?”
The next question is, are you on the right route to reach your destination? Have you gone through the right door?