Pick companions for road wisely

By Gerry Lewis | Published Saturday, June 16, 2018

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Road trip!

It’s next to impossible for us to really appreciate what life would have been like a century ago. At least we have historical accounts to help us get some sense of it.

But if you were to ask someone who lived a century ago to imagine what our lives must be like, they would have had no context to have any inkling of life in the 21st century.

Grandpa Lewis was the first of our clan to migrate from Alabama to Texas. At 17, he made that trip around 1913.

About three weeks ago, I got up at 4 a.m. in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to drive to the airport in Reno, Nev. to fly to Amarillo to get in the car and drive home to Azle. I arrived home about 10 p.m.

There is no way my 17-year-old grandpa could have imagined that possibility. I’m not even sure he could have gotten his head around it 32 years ago when he died at 90.

We are a mobile culture. Heck, I have a 46-mile round-trip just between my house and office. I know plenty of people who have a much longer commute.

But I’m thinking today of something that Grandpa and I have in common, even separated by 100 years. Your traveling companions either make your trip seem shorter or interminable.

Think of all the people you interact with on a regular basis. Now imagine that you’ve got to take one or two of them on a road trip. Whom do you choose?

I bet you dollars to donuts you didn’t choose the whiners and critics.

Here’s my perspective for today: life is a road trip. We are all on a journey toward an ultimate destination. How much we enjoy that journey will largely be determined by our travel companions. So, choose your companions wisely.

I could stop there, but it would miss the most important point.

The journey is just as much for the benefit of our companions as it is for us. Therefore, it behooves us to be the kind of traveling companions we want to have.

I state one of my core values this way: “Travel joyfully because ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’ and no one wants to travel with a critic.”

I have given my life to sharing the gospel – the good news about Jesus. If I want people to be interested in anything I have to say, it’s a good idea for me to be a pleasant companion on the journey.

“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

Sometimes traveling companions have to put a few miles on the road together before conversations get to things that really matter. I don’t want people to avoid those conversations with me because I’ve already done too much whining and criticizing.

Our lives matter to God, my friends. Let’s help each other enjoy the amazing journey.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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