“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3
Several years ago, I was speaking at a men’s conference in South Dakota and I had the opportunity to visit Mt. Rushmore. One of the things I learned is that the sculptor, a man named Gutzon Borglum, never finished his work. He had originally planned to extend the figures of each president down to the waist area; unfortunately, time and funding constraints prevented him from doing so. Therefore, the sculpture stops at the four presidents’ necks. Millions of tourists visit Mt. Rushmore each year and never realize they are looking at an unfinished work of art.
If your life were to end today, what would you leave unfinished? A book half read? A letter half written? A bill not paid? A promise not kept? One day we will all leave this world with places we wanted to see, words we meant to say, and things we intended to do. There is only one person in history who never left behind any unfinished business, and that is Jesus Christ. From the time He was born until the moment He died, He perfectly followed the path that God laid out for Him. It was a path of righteousness, of service, and of suffering; and Jesus walked it in complete humble obedience to His Father at all times.
Like Jesus, God has laid out a path for each of us to walk. Jesus was our trailblazer, and as we follow Him, our paths will be similar to His in many ways. They will be paths of righteousness, of service to others, and sometimes marked with miles of suffering. We all want our paths to lead to success. but do we delight when they lead to sacrifice? Jesus’ path was paved with suffering. Likewise, 1 Peter 2:21 says, “To this (suffering for doing good) you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” But the Bible also says in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our suffering in Christ is, “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Whether the path is smooth or rocky, uphill or downhill, whether it is easy or hard, we must finish our walk with God on the path of righteousness. That may mean we don’t accomplish everything we want to accomplish on this earth. It may mean we don’t get to experience everything we want to experience. But if we follow and love Jesus with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will die knowing we have accomplished everything that God wants us to accomplish in this life.
God, Help me to follow You wholeheartedly down the path of righteousness that You have carved out for me. Thank You for sending Your Son to be my example, and Your Spirit to be my companion. Amen.