Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Directed vs. Drifting: An Analogy
To use a model from the Gospels...
"The Kingdom of God is like a transportation network across a continent. One man who wanted to travel invested his time and money into building a railroad network. He planned out where he wanted the tracks to go, dug out good footings, laid a heavy foundation of gravel and concrete sleepers, and purchased quality steel rails. He knew the train wouldn't be able to go side-to-side, and could only follow the route he planned, but he knew it could do so very fast, and carry many passengers and cargo.
Another man decided he didn't want to spend the time or money on a railroad system, so he purchased a 4x4 truck. He could go anywhere he wanted in the country, across mud and ice and grass and trails and roads. But he quickly found that he couldn't travel faster than the train, as the bumpiness made his girlfriend car sick, and he couldn't bring many people with him because he was cheap and didn't get the King cab model".
Application: Directed living is tough. It requires an investment of time, and probably some money or other resources. In the long term though, it provides liberty with structure. A directed Christian can't just "go" wherever he or she feels like. There are limits they place on themselves (i.e. rails) to ensure that they can be the most efficient in a certain direction.
A drifting Christian (or any other person) chooses to have "liberty" without structure. While it appears they have more freedom to do what they like (watch certain movies, pursue certain relationships, spend their time and money in more ways), they in fact are unknowingly placing limits on themselves. The truck cannot achieve the same speeds as a well-built train, and cannot carry the same load either.
A marriage (with limits on intimacy outside the relationship) is like a train; a series of non-committal dating relationships becomes like the truck.
A purpose-driven career is like the train (focused attention on professional growth to show God's glory), while a career-drifter (who doesn't want to commit; distinct from someone who is making a deliberate career change) is like the truck.
A Christian who dedicates time each week to study a particular section of the Bible is like the train (limiting other activities to focus on that study), whereas a drifting Christian simply takes what comes across their path .
Who will you be? The train, or the truck?