by: Brent Wood
A person who makes maps is called a cartographer. A person who collects maps is called ... wait for it ... a map collector. Seriously. That's the best we can do?
There was a time in my life when I was a social studies / world geography teacher. I think it was then that I became really interested in maps. So I decided to collect them. But I wasn't a very good collector. My collection never got very large. I framed a few of my favorites; the rest lived under my bed rolled up in tube. Today I have no idea what happened to any of them.
But I still love maps. All kinds of maps - and there are a lot of different kinds. There are topographical maps and demographic maps and historical maps and climate maps and political maps and economic maps and just plain old road maps. (Remember them? You could buy them in gas stations back when you actually went inside gas stations.)
I love how colorful maps are. I love how visual they are. And I love how maps tell stories. They are like a snapshot in time - they always tell us about something that happened or is happening or even is likely to happen.
I also love maps because they remind me of the journey of life. Someone has gone somewhere and took the time to record his travels. Why? Because someone like me is likely to follow. And really, I appreciate the effort that person has gone to. On our trip to Montana we spent a lot of time looking at maps on our phones on an app called AllTrails. Maybe you have even used it. But it's an incredible digital library of hiking maps that evidently other hikers have put together. (Even better, whenever a person hikes that trail he/she is invited to tell about it, so the trail gets reviews!)
But a map's usefulness is dependent upon someone trying to follow it. You can collect maps and look at them all day - but if that map is really going to help you, you're going to have to take some action. At some point you need to take the first step. And then the next. And then the next. (If you use AllTrails, it will actually track your progress - very useful to make sure you are actually staying on the path!) And if you take enough steps, you will eventually get to your destination.
Faith is the same way. It's just a series of steps. A few of them may be significant. There are times in our journey where God calls us to step out or up in some big way. We have to take the dare, accept the challenge. Most of our faith steps, however, aren't that spectacular. In fact, they seem pretty much like the last one. But they are important, too, as each step leads us closer to where we want to go a little at a time.
Faith steps. What are some of the big ones you have taken? How did it impact your story? What are some of the small ones that you have taken? What (maybe unforeseen) impact have they had? And what are the recent faith steps that you have taken? Faith is supposed to be a constant journey where we are constantly moving forward. What faith step do you need to take right now? Maybe that's the most important question of all.