“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner
worthy of the calling to which you have been called…”
Every now and then, I run across one of the magazines that describe all the great things I can
do in Beaver County in the months to come. It makes me chuckle when I hear people mumble,
“There’s nothing to do around here.” There is much to do around here!
But this publication also reminds me of an image offered by some other pastors. They have
compared tourists and pilgrims.
When you’re a tourist, you take a publication like that magazine, travel around, and take in all
the sights, sounds, and smells you want. (The smell part is especially pleasing at many of our
local food festivals.) You’re just there to have a good time, then go back to your life.
That’s a fun way to meander through the county on days of leisure. But the Bible calls us to
something different as we relate to God. We are called to pilgrimage. As Paul says to his friends
in Ephesus, if you believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, your life should change. You ought to
journey in a manner that is “worthy” of your new relationship with God, your fresh identity
before others, and your rejuvenated mission in this world.
The religious tourist may have some fascination with faith history, biblical stories, or life in a
local congregation. But the tourist is really only a spectator — present to watch while others do
whatever interesting things they do. The good preacher, the fine music, the kind deeds of
mercy…they’re all fine. You like to observe them.
But if you’re truly a follower of Jesus, you will be a pilgrim. You will know He has set you
on a path to everlasting life through His merits and mercy, and you want to begin the journey
anew every day and travel well until you arrive in eternity with Him. You want Him to change
your heart and habits, your words and deeds, your loving and serving, and everything else.
Instead of being entertained, you want to be transformed.
When it comes to the things of God, which are you? A tourist or a pilgrim?
Father, thank you for the journey of faith in Jesus.
Enable me to walk on this pilgrimage in ways that are worthy of this calling.