We recently made a trip to Fowlerville, Mich., with a carload of Bibles and other Christian books and literature. Christian Resources International (CRI), located there, sorts used Christian literature and makes it available to missionaries all over the world at no cost.
The books come in, are sorted by subject matter or by author, and are shelved. Then mostly volunteers pick them off the shelves to supply the many requests made by missionaries and pastors. They told us of a pastor who had a love of Christ in his heart but no Bible or other Christian helps except for one small daily devotional booklet. With that booklet, he studied and fed his own Christian hunger, and his flock of followers as well. His one desire was for a Bible.
Large containers are filled with Bibles, commentaries, and numerous other books, and then are shipped to foreign lands. I don’t know how they are handled when the containers arrive in those lands, but eventually the printed word gets into the hands of local pastors in very remote parts of the world. The cost of shipping alone is $11,000 per container. This is a mission in itself.
Another ministry of CRI is to allow pastors, Sunday school teachers, missionaries, and other interested individuals to select what they need and take it with them – again, at no charge. Personnel were thrilled to receive the boxes we brought because there were several boxes of new Bibles which, we were told, would probably go out the very next week.
Well, this trip took us north through Jackson, Mich. Now, when I first moved back to northwest Ohio after many years in Kentucky, my brothers, each in his own time, cautioned me about the route through Jackson. “Be careful when you come back south because it’s very easy to make a wrong turn.”
We made our delivery, had lunch, and started home.
Looking at my watch, I commented we would be home by four o’clock. We were cruising along making good time and, though I didn’t say it aloud, I thought we would be home earlier than I had said. I noted we were at Jackson. And a bit later I was mentally congratulating myself on the ease with which I had managed the Jackson quandary.
I finally came off the road to get a drink at McDonald’s. I took note of my exit so I would get back on in the right direction. But when I went to make the turn to come on home, I discovered it was not the route I should have been on at all!
I briefly puzzled over where I had made the mistake (Jackson, of course!) and wasn’t sure how to correct my problem. So I set the GPS to “Go Home”, and actually followed her directions which took me right back to Jackson and then onto the right road in the right direction!
We had traveled 20 miles in the wrong direction before becoming aware we even had a problem!
It’s so easy to make wrong turns in our Christian lives, as well! Maybe our attention strays. Maybe we don’t consult our map or GPS (Bible). And I’m not talking about travel by road but choices in everyday life – what we say or do and where we go.
Probably the one that hits me hardest is that “what we say” thing! Though my heart wants to be a witness for Jesus Christ, frequently my tongue gets involved before my mind is in gear and out comes something that could be hurtful to someone else! Though I’m sorry and may apologize, words cannot be taken back.
If I don’t stay in very close fellowship with Jesus, my Savior, I can head down the wrong road very easily and quickly. How about you? Just call it the “Jackson dilemma” and stay in contact with your Guide, Jesus.