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April-May 2015

10 Years in Print: Special Edition


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ONE TO ONE: Lessons About Life, Ministry...and Grandkids

by Keith Burden, Executive Secretary, National Association of Free Will Baptists


The "Y" in the Road

I had played my final high school football game. The next morning, my dad and I pulled away from our house in his pickup truck before daylight. We were going on a weeklong hunting expedition in Nebraska. I was excited, to say the least.

I sat wide-eyed in the passenger’s seat as we traveled down unknown roads and viewed unfamiliar scenery. My anticipation heightened as my father outlined the plans he had for us once we reached our destination. Our journey was briefly interrupted when we stopped to purchase fuel and get a bite to eat.

It was late afternoon, somewhere in Kansas, when we pulled off the road. My dad confessed that he was tired and wanted me to drive for a while. He didn’t have to ask twice. I was more than happy to accommodate. Driving on an unfamiliar interstate highway was a teenage boy’s dream.

We hadn’t gone very far when I heard a familiar, rhythmic sound…my dad was snoring. He was sound asleep. I have often wondered if that was a sign of his faith in me or simply a matter of fatigue. Since he never said, I will assume it was more the former than the latter.

Just as I was getting comfortable behind the wheel, a highway sign appeared and caught my attention. It announced that the interstate would split in one mile. I had 60 seconds to make a decision. In typical male fashion, I opted not to awaken my dad to ask for directions. I decided to trust my own instincts. Bad move.

It was about an hour later when my father stirred from his slumber. “Where are we?” he asked. I explained the dilemma I had faced and the decision I made. He retrieved the road map from the glove box and discovered I had chosen incorrectly.

Thankfully, we did not have to backtrack. We turned onto an alternate route and eventually managed to get back on the proper road. My mistake cost us an extra hour in traveling time but taught me a lifelong lesson: you are better off following a road map than trusting your instincts.

The Bible warns about the danger of trying to find your own way spiritually: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Fortunately, we don’t have to find our own way spiritually. God has given us clear directions in His Word: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

Through the years I’ve encountered many “Ys” in the road. Honesty dictates I tell you I have not always made the best decision. However, I can tell you God’s road map has never steered me wrong. His clear, written directions in the Bible are far superior to my often unreliable instincts.



About the Column

One to One is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Written by Keith Burden, executive secretary of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, the column explores life, ministry...and the joys of grandchildren.


©2015 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists