One of my favorite songs is Ramblin’ Man by the Allman Brothers. It’s a great tune. The lyrics are pretty good, too.
I like the song because I really enjoy songs about journeys (I like songs by Journey, too, but that would be for another post.) Songs like these tell a lot about life, because we all are on a journey. Life is one continual journey from birth through life through death to life. It never stops.
And yet, sometimes it seems in churches, where the never-ending concept of the journey of life ought to be lifted up the most, we speak of life in terms of destination: “I found Jesus” or “When I get to heaven…”
Dr. Steve Harper, retired Professor of Spiritual Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary (and who blogs at Oboedire), once wrote, “We prefer a terminology of ‘finding’ Jesus, rather than ‘following him.’ We opt for plans with arrivals built into them instead of invitations with journeys at their heart.”
Our life in Christ is a life of following Jesus. It is no coincidence that Jesus said he was “The Way” and that the movement was originally called “The Way.” Jesus is taking all of creation on a journey, and he has invited us to join him on that journey.
This has radical implications for our spiritual lives. There is never a point when we can say we have “arrived” at a destination. Even the major points of the journey, salvation and sanctification, are themselves merely entry points to deeper sections of the journey rather than destinations to stop and stay. Our God is infinite and he invites us to spiritually travel with him. It will be an infinite journey. For some it is a physical journey as well (think missionaries), but for all it is a spiritual journey.
So when I hear very well-meaning Christians speak of their salvation or their relationship with Christ as a destination (and one for which they are eternally grateful for their arrival), I have the Allman Brothers run through my head. There is always more to the journey. It is always time for leavin’ in order to go further on the spiritual journey with Jesus. We never remain spiritually stuck in the same place in our relationship with Christ if at all possible. I just hope you understand, in God’s economy, it is completely appropriate to be a Ramblin’ Man.