How many of us have ever had to speak to a travel agent to get some information on an upcoming trip? You sit in their office, they tell you about places they themselves haven’t been, they show you a bunch of brochures, and they describe the wonderful packages they could put together and how much they would cost you.
One time while on vacation in Arizona with my family we took a guided jeep tour. Our guide met us with the jeep, gave us useful information about the area, and then drove us through the streets, back roads, and mountains of beautiful Sedona. He didn’t just sit in an office and describe the scenery; he drove us through to see the scenery himself!
Travel agents give us information. Tour guides lead us to a destination.
Spiritually speaking, which of those two has helped you grow the most? The agent who tells you what to do, or the guide who shows you what to do? As a pastor, one of my main concerns is that I tell people how to grow spiritually more than show them how to grow spiritually, and I believe many Christians sit back and do the same.
In your Christian life, you can be a spiritual travel agent or a spiritual tour guide. Travel agents sit in climate-controlled buildings and tell people where to go, how to get there, and what to do when they arrive. It’s comfortable. It’s safe. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot like the modern way we do church? Tour guides lace up their shoes and trek alongside you. It’s definitely not always comfortable. It can be risky and messy, but ultimately very rewarding.
Heather Zempel author of Big Change Small Groups puts it this way,
We can’t just talk about prayer . . . we’ve got to do it with people. We can’t just complete a workbook on serving our community; we’ve got to get out there and do it. We can’t just explain to someone, we’ve got to do it alongside them.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 the Apostle Paul wrote,
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
Do you live your life in such a way that you want others to follow? Are you committed to following Christ, so that others can follow you?
The way I learned how to ride a bike was my dad showing me. The way I learned how to pray was by my parents modeling it for me. The way I learned to preach was not just by reading books on homiletics but by actually preaching and having teachers help guide me.
Don’t be a travel agent Christian who just sits in a church building and tells people what to do. Be a tour-guide Christian who walks with others and shows people what to do!
Let’s follow the lead of the greatest Tour Guide who ever lived when he said in John 13:15,
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
Lets get up off the pew, exit the building, and get to guiding!