Appearances on the Course
I do not like, no, I disdain, riding or driving on the interstate road system in the United States. I do not discount the clear fact that it is much quicker to arrive at your destination. I do not doubt that it is often a straighter route. But the appearances, of the roadside, are just not interesting. In fact, I would go as far to say, that it is often just ugly, most assuredly boring, and extremely plain. Even the attempts of roadside beautification, do not remedy my complaints, over the interstate’s appearances.
Some of my husband and I’s, greatest trip ”discussions,” have ensued over whether we are traveling the interstate or the back-roads. I am, obviously, a ”back-road” person while he is all about arriving in a timely manner. I feel there is such beauty to be discovered, through the appearances of back-road travel. The end results of trip decisions though, often boil down to time.
My loving spouse, in his younger days, was more of a, “let’s get there,” kind of person, and then we will enjoy our trip. He did not get discouraged by appearances and wanted to maintain the quickest course, to achieve the end destination. It seems that the times I ”map navigated” and convinced him, that this beautiful country road I found would cut miles from our trip, usually backfired. Oh certainly, the roadside appearances suddenly changed for the better, as we changed our course. We certainly recognized it, for it seemed to never fail, that once we changed our course, we were severely slowed down by others using the road, in which time was not of essence to them. So we often viewed these lovely back-roads seeing the true appearances of the roadway, as we traveled speeds of twenty-five to thirty miles an hour, behind a farmer changing to another field, or a couple just enjoying the drive.
Appearances can change your course in many ways. It seems though, in order to enjoy the route along the way, in order to enjoy the appearances, of the new area, you must change your thinking about your trip. The travel from the beginning to the end must be seen in its entirety, in order to not only appreciate the appearances you see, but to relish in the change of course along the way. The end destination is important but so is how you arrive. The disciples experience this first hand, not soon after the death of Christ.
In a locked room, frightened and huddled around one another, they tried to make sense of their course. The appearances of their current situation seemed bleak and confused. But suddenly their course changes, by the sudden appearance of Christ. There are many appearances of Christ to the disciples, recordedÂ after that and it is because of these appearances, that their course in life was radically changed. The appearances of Christ confirmed not only the identity of Jesus, but by whose authority He came to earth. These appearances solidified what they had already experienced, and now they understood their course was to change, as Christ had the given authority to send them out in the world, teaching others about how appearances can change their course. Sometimes to change the course, we must see things differently and from an altered perspective.
One very rainy afternoon, a little boy found himself very bored and with the company of his father, who thought an afternoon nap was in order. The father decided to create an activity for the child that would keep his son busy so he could have a peaceful nap.
He remembered seeing in the newspaper from earlier that day a large world map. So the father took scissors and cut it into many irregular shapes, much like a jigsaw puzzle. He gave the pieces to his son and said, ”See if you can put all the pieces together to recreate the map. And do not disturb me until you are completely finished.” The father then stretched out upon the sofa and closed his eyes thinking that the puzzle activity would last a good hour.
The father had just settled into his peaceful rest, when suddenly the little boy was tapping on his shoulder announcing that he completed the puzzle. The father reluctantly sat up to find that every piece of the map fitted together perfectly. ”How did you do that?” he inquired. ”It was easy, Daddy. There was a picture of a man on the other side. When I got the man put together right, the world was right.” When we see things from different appearances or perspectives it changes not only how we see them, but the course of how to achieve them.
This week, our focus verse changes the course of not only the life of the disciples, but ours too, through the recorded appearances of Christ. We learn that Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit. It is there, we will find the peace we need to carry forth the job of spreading the gospel, which He tasked the disciples and every believer after them to do.
Because of the appearances of Christ, our courseÂ changes too. We are to go out in the world spreading the gospel; as we live, work, and move through life. God sent Jesus to the world to not only tell, but show the world about His love. Through the appearances of Jesus, we are to go forth with full confidence, knowing God sends us to teach others about the words and actions of Christ. We are to change the course of the world, through our knowledge of the appearances, for just like the puzzle the little boy put together, when ”man” gets put together ”right” the world will be right too.
Again He said, ”Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me so I am sending you.” John 20:21 (NLT)
You Can Change the Course
Changing the course, because of appearances, will change the way you live your life. Making your life’s focus about the gospel is an everyday show and tell, through your actions and words. When you focus your life on Christ, you do not hesitate before the world about standing up for Jesus, as your life is a constant reflection of it. When the course changes’, telling others about Christ becomes second nature and is not planned or strategized. It is an action, you complete outside of yourself, which speaks to the world. You must accept that appearances can change the course of lives and that in itself, can save a life.
For a number of years, ”The Wide World of Sports” television program, illustrated ”the agony of defeat” with a painful ending to an attempted ski jump. The skier appeared in good form as he headed down the jump slope, but suddenly, for no clear reason, he tumbles head over heels off the jump, bouncing off the supporting structure down to the snow below.
What viewers didn’t know was that the skier chose to fall, rather than finish the jump. He later explained that the jump surface had become too fast, and halfway down the ramp, he realized that if he completed the jump, he would land on the level ground, beyond the safe landing area, which would likely be fatal. Surprisingly, the skier suffered no more than a headache from the tumble. When you change the course of your life because of appearances, it can be dramatic and sometimes painful, but changing the course is better than a fatal landing at the end.
You are challenged to carry on the job that Christ gives you to do, changing not only your own course, because of His appearances, but helping others change, theirs as well. There is comfort found when you change your course. Christ promises peace, as He will be with you, as you move out to do His work.
At the end of life, the words of Nathan C. Schaeffer ring true as the question will not be;
How much have you gotten? Â but – How much have you given?
not – How much have you won? Â but – How much have you done?
not – How much have you saved? Â but – Â How much have you sacrificed?
not – Â How much were you honored? Â but – How much have you loved and served?
Love in Christ,
The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
What are your thoughts about the job given to you by Christ to spread the gospel? Do you find it easy to change the course because of appearances? Do you struggle with being politically correct and not standing up for Christ? Join us in discussion on spreading the ”Good News” to the world, every day in your every way life.