Do you like to travel?  I really have enjoyed visiting various places throughout our country and even overseas.  But, did you know there is a difference between traveling and touring.  According to Daniel Boorstein in his book, The Lost Art of Travel, things have changed significantly over the last number of decades.  Years ago when you planned a trip, you really had to do a lot of planning.  If you were going out of the U.S., you were likely getting on a ship and it would take a week to get there.  You had to carry lots of stuff and spend more than a weekend.  The same was true of traveling in the Old West.  You were on a stage coach or wagon and you had to worry about the heat, few beds, bad food, even being robbed by bandits.  Traveling was risky and difficult.  

That all changed when companies began to offer tours.  From better transportation to luxury accommodations, people were able to see the world quicker, easier, and without much risk.  Suddenly tours allowed folks to see the sights… from a bagpipe player in Scotland to staged western shoot-outs to even one town in England who offered tourist a real public hanging as your bus stopped in their town for gas and refreshments.  That is why travelers generally go to “destinations” instead of random places.  Smart companies created tours which kept people from wondering too much into local areas. 

In Matthew 8:18-22, this is what Jesus tells “wannabe” disciples.  “Jesus told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake. As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. ‘I’ll go with you, wherever,’ he said.  Jesus was curt: ‘Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.’ Another follower said, ‘Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.’Jesus refused. ‘First things first! Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.”

I hate to tell you, but I believe that Jesus is asking us to travel… not tour. Traveling involves a time commitment. It involves a commitment to personal risk.  It involves prioritizing what Jesus wants over what we may want. I have always noted that one of the people asking was a religion scholar. That would be someone who supposedly knows the Law and has a relationship with God, yet Jesus is clear that following Him means it may not be comfortable or cushy. Following Jesus may mean that you have no place to lay your head. Your faith may be tested and you will have difficulties.   

But what is the payoff to traveling with Jesus? It obviously isn’t being rich or having the best of everything, so what could it be? 

Jesus promises life… a life worth living… a battle worth fighting for… a beauty to be saved… a wonderful, energetic, and fruitful life. Too many people are content to “tour” with Jesus. They simply hit the hi-lites and see pretty much what they expect to see along the quick route through life. Jesus knew that people longed for something more than a tour of life. Jesus knew that we would be better off to travel and follow Him. It would offer riches beyond wealth and visions of God’s mighty acts far beyond the mundane day-to-day views of the world we settle for.  

I remember living in Fort Walton Beach, Florida some years ago.  All of the tourist went to many of the crappy fish houses and shops on the island and main street.  But locals, we knew better.
We went to the best restaurants nowhere near the beach. My favorite was a joint called Mary’s Kitchen.  Ooohhh… the food was awesome. But rarely, if ever, did you see a tourist dining… it was only those of us who lived, if only for awhile there, as travelers. 

Let’s see what Jesus has in store for us.  Let’s follow Him.  Quick, get in the boat!  Until next time, Blessings!