Giving directions

How does one become good at giving directions? I love Hollywood’s version of giving directions – you know what I’m talking about – when the lost and confused driver pulls off some long and dusty highway in the middle of nowhere, to ask directions from two old codgers who just happen to be sitting outside of the only gas station within 100 miles, playing checkers on an old whiskey barrel in the blistering heat, sipping two ice cold bottles of Dr. Pepper, while a lone harmonica is playing somewhere in the background. Inevitably, the conversation goes something like this:

“What yul wanna do now is head north on this here road ’til you get to the big chicken; then yur gonna wanna turn left at the chicken and head west ’til you reach the ol’ silo; now make sure yur watchin’ it right there ‘cuz Billy Bob just put a fresh load uh gravel down there at that there turn, and if yur not watchin’ yul slide clean off the road, an’ no one’ll find ya for ’bout three days I reckon. So when yur makin’ that right turn at the ol’ silo don’ you furget to slow it down; and then yur gonna wanna go about three miles ’til you reach the ol’ Charlie Daniel’s crossroads. Once you get yurself there, yur gonna wanna head north again and yul run smack dab into the highway yur lookin’ fur.”

Notice the usage of direction, distance, landmark and road conditions that are given with these directions. These old guys have lived in this town/county/state all their lives, and their directions are so concise yet obscure enough you’re sure this lost driver is going to be even more completely lost once they pull away from the old gas station. But, inevitably the events unfold just as the old codgers said they would and the driver finds their way, unscathed, to their destination. Ah, Hollywood!

In reality though, who knows off hand when they’re going north, south, east, or west? Who pays attention to landmarks when they’re driving in an unfamiliar area? And who is going to round a corner on a gravel road traveling 40 MPH? Oh, and I almost forgot…where do you find two old codgers who can remember where they are, much less give you directions to where you’re headed?

Truly, I think I’m one of the worst people to ask directions from. Usually, I’m one of those people who has lived for many years in an area and can’t tell you the easiest way to get across town. Or, in those rare times when I actually do know where I’m going, I end up giving directions that are too good, and the driver becomes confused by all the details I include.

I can’t seem to get the knack of just saying, “From the interstate, turn right on Dixie Highway, left onto Ewing Blvd, and then right onto Catawba Ln.”

No, no, that’s not good enough for me. I find myself giving directions like I’m having a conversation with the driver about it. My directions go something like this:

“From your house you’ll want to take Baker Rd to Dixie Highway and turn right. Follow Dixie Highway about 2.5 miles to the Ewing Blvd intersection (there’s a Waffle House there on your right) and turn left. You’ll pass the new police station and the fire station on your left side. Then, you’ll want to turn into Catawba Ln, which is the second left after the fire station entrance. Once you’re on Catawba Ln, you’ll want to proceed to the right and not left, otherwise you’ll have to drive around the whole complex. Our building is the first one behind the office and our parking spaces are limited, so you’ll need to make sure you park in the ones marked “Visitor” which are on the back of the building if you’re at the office. We live on the third floor and we don’t have an elevator in the building. Our door is decorated in a tropical theme – although you’ll probably notice we’re the only ones in the whole building with anything on our door. Can’t wait to see you!”

Thankfully, we never had many visitors who didn’t already know how to get to our apartment complex. (By the way, we no longer live in that apartment or state for that matter, so those directions won’t get you to my house….in case you were wondering.)

Fortunately, for those of us who are looking for a life-map, the Bible is perfect. It gives us clear, concise, well-written directions, and it reads perfectly for those who are looking for the right way to live their lives.

John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me {Jesus}.”

Jesus spoke plainly to the people of old about what they needed to do in order to have eternal life, and his message hasn’t changed in over 2,000 years. His stories are easy to understand and still applicable for today’s busy life, since human nature never changes.

If you’re lost on the highway of life, I encourage you to pull over and get directions from the man who knows the way. In fact, if you’d be willing to hand Him the keys to your life, he’ll take you on a ride you’ll never forget!



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