Shortcuts are not always a good thing

Published 3:48 pm Friday, January 11, 2019

Occasionally I come upon an advertisement on television that entertains me; some even make me think a little, too.  I recall one that I found quite amusing.  I do not even know what product they were promoting, but the scene was a motel room with a man sitting on the side of the bed while wearing a hospital gown.  As he spoke, a small team of people could be seen leaving the room carrying surgical equipment out with them.  The gentleman proudly stated that “I saved $200 by having my surgery done in a motel room.”

I have no objection to cutting costs when it is reasonable, but no amount of money saved would be worth the risk that that guy took!  Thankfully it was fictitious scenario.

Sometimes shortcuts are worth it, but often times not.  While traveling, I have tried a few shortcuts that wound up costing me time and effort. 

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I recall a time while I was preparing to work in the garden when one of our grandchildren expressed a strong desire to help me.  She had her mind set on helping me operate the tiller, and I did not have the heart to refuse her request.  I got the tiller started and she held on to the handles while I guided it.  It was awkward trying to reach around Addy, guide the tiller, and keep the machine from chewing up the tender plants as I helped her “help” me.  Somehow we made it through without destroying what I was trying to tend and she was delighted that she got to participate. 

My time would have been more efficient and the job might have been of better quality if I had done it all by myself, but had I done so I would have taken a short cut around some important time in Addy’s life.  Whatever time and effort it required of me to let her be involved in what I was doing was time and effort well used. 

As we go along in life we sometimes try to take short cuts in our spiritual journey, primarily by trying to do things our way instead of God’s way.  As many of us have found out through personal experience, that is always a losing proposition.  Proverbs 3:5-6 gives a succinct bit of guidance that we can apply that will guide us toward doing things His way:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (New International Version). 

Following such Godly advice leaves no room for short cuts.  Instead, it reminds us of the value of choosing God’s path rather than pursuing our own.  The next two verses remind us further of the benefits of doing things God’s way:  “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7-8).

What we perceive to be short cuts often are not—especially as it relates to our spiritual health.  While we might not always understand God’s ways and the road that He leads us down might seem to be the long one, in the end it always pays to follow Him.  As we make our way through 2019, we will experience greater fulfillment in our spiritual walk if we will not look for the quick and easy shortcut, but instead seek to follow the paths that God wants us to follow.  His ways might not always be the easiest but they are always the best.