Fork in the Road
Someone said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”
A while back Mary and I were in Switzerland. We drove from the sleepy Swiss village of Burtigny to the bustling city of Lausanne to do some errands. We downloaded the turn by turn instructions to get to our destination. Mary played co-pilot, reading the French street names to me as I drove through the city to Office World.
Neither of us speaks French. Between Mary’s interpretation of the street names and my reading of the street signs, we made several u-turns. In fact, we passed in front of Office World three times, before we noticed the big red English letters on the building.
I like the adventure of going to new places and meeting new people. However, the process of getting there can be stressful, and hilarious, especially if you heard our feeble attempts to pronounce French!
How do you find your way to a new destination? How do you respond when you suddenly realize, “I have not been this way before.”
There are key moments in our lives when a decision must be made, a direction must be chosen. And there are moments when a generation faces a similar choice of major significance to the future. Our choices will affect others; in fact, our choices could affect perhaps millions of people.
I see the two choices. I see a fork in the road and the signpost with clearly inscribed names for two pathways.
One road is named “The Way of Increase” and the other is named “The Way of Decrease”.
Both pathways are the way of influence and change. Both ways will impact many others. Both ways are the way of personal sacrifice. Both ways shape the future and the way power is distributed.
The Way of Increase is exciting. It is the way most will choose. It’s the way of increased power, increased popularity, and increased numbers. The way of increase is called “blessed”; it’s the way of apparent abundance.
I believe in God. And I believe he promises blessing and abundant life, so choosing that path of increase will not seem foreign. It’s easy to read the sign; it’s easy to choose.
The other pathway is the Way of Decrease. This sign is very difficult to read; it’s foreign, unfamiliar, and unwelcome.
Why one would take that sharp turn toward decrease is difficult to imagine. It appears to be a complete reversal of direction. Whatever progress was made seems to be lost the moment you take this turn. The way is narrow and difficult. Suddenly the smooth road becomes a steep incline and a very rough terrain. Few take this road, and most would mistake it for a path for sheep.
And that’s the choice. Will you take the easy road or the narrow road?
The Way to Increase is filled with spiritual excitement and expectations of triumphing over any that might get in your way. It is the way to power. It’s a highway with speed and comfort, and many are on that road. You can congratulate yourself when you look in your rear view mirror to see multitudes following you.
The Way to Decrease is the way of surrender. It is quiet there. Few are seen of this road. Tears fall on this difficult path, but few will notice. Why would anyone take this path? This way is not producing the numbers and the excitement we have come to expect.
But those who choose the Way of Decrease have seen the top of that steep incline on that difficult path. They have seen the One who went that way to the top of that hill.
Jesus chose the Way of Decrease.
It is THAT way, the Way of Decrease, that brings true Increase to others. The way of abundance is life-giving, life-surrendering, and power giving.
So the choice is clear. Take the path to gain power, or the path to give power. History is marked by those who have chosen the Way of Decrease, giving away and distributing power to the powerless.