Keep Moving Forward

Joseph Christopherson

It was dark, and the whole neighborhood was settling down nicely for the night. I lived just outside the town so it was quiet and dark. My sister and I were not tired, though. We were ready. At any minute my grandpa would be pulling up in his camper, and we would be off to New York. Of course at the time, being so young, I did not know that it was going to be a long trip. Fort Collins, Colorado to New York, New York is a formidable trek in a camper with your family. It didn’t hamper my spirits, though. I was excited.

Before I could see anything outside of the window, I heard a loud, clanking noise. The kind of noise that means “something is broken.” The noise grew louder until I finally saw the camper come around the corner. Brownish yellow with brown lines running along the sides, my grandpa was finally there! My excitement grew. My parents, however, were not so thrilled. I now know that my parents did not know of the condition of my grandpa’s camper before he pulled up. It was bad. I do not know how it actually ran. It must have been around 20 years old, at the time, and it had already made the journey from Houston to Fort Collins. It was now expected to get to New York and back!

To top it off: my grandpa informed us that we had to keep it running. If we turned it off, the camper would die. For some insane reason we still embarked on the journey. And yes, we kept it running for the entire trip to New York. We drove through storms that later turned into tornados, and we went long stretches where we didn’t know if we would have enough gas to make it to the next station. But, we made it to New York in one piece.

My grandpa had a lot of flaws, but I learned so much from him. When I think of him I think of persistence and intentionality. He did not sit back in his life. I think this is important because it can be easy to fall into a routine and lose intentionality in your life. This can even happen with healthy and good routines. Reading the Bible is extremely important. However, if you merely read the Bible because it is “that time of the day” and when you finish you put it down and simply move on, what are you actually getting out of it? Routines are important. It is good to establish them. Let’s not forget why we establish them, though.

The difference between being intentional and not being intentional can easily be seen in conversations. Listening to someone is quite different from hearing someone. Listening leads to understanding, and it takes intentionality to properly listen. Proverbs 2 discusses this. Reading this passage you will see many different calls to be active. Words like ‘receive,’ ‘treasure,’ ‘call out’ or ‘raise your voice’ require us to be intentional.

The book Love Does by Bob Goff discusses this idea as well. Throughout the book, he tells stories of his life and about lessons that he learned, and it all had to do with love being intentional. We cannot be ambassadors of faith if we are not actively looking for ways to tell others about Jesus. Loving others and showing God’s love for all requires intentionality!

My grandpa was good at this. In fact, one of the things that I inherited from him was his Bible. It is full of markings and notes and underlined passages. One of the underlined passages was James 1:22-25:  

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

Doers and not hearers only. Of the many things in the passage, one thing that stands out is the distinction between someone who hears but forgets and someone who listens and acts. Let’s be people that act.

To close the story. We made it to New York mostly because my grandpa was a doer. He had no money, but he wanted to be there for my uncle’s West Point graduation. He found a way to get there, and he brought us with him. When we got to the RV site we could not turn it off! It ran all night until at some wee hour of the morning, with the loudest bang you can imagine, it died. It stayed dead for a week past the time that we were supposed to depart for home. When my grandpa finally got it running again we left. It died almost every day of the trip home. My grandpa, though, got it fixed and running each time, and we made it home. I loved the trip. What elementary kid wouldn’t?

God calls us to be active followers of Him. Let’s help each other be active and intentional together.