A few times this past week, I encountered several obstacles in the road as I traveled the daily highways of life.  Not counting dead animals, I had to swerve around large concrete chunks, potholes, and several pieces of truck tire.  I got stopped behind someone on a roundabout who didn’t understand how to use it as traffic got backed up behind them.  You never know what you may find as you drive through Iowa.  There are many times I’ve had to slow down or drive around deer, cattle, and others animals as well.  What do you do when you encounter obstacles like this?  You could say ‘I have the right to be here more than they do’ and just drive through them, while putting yourself and your vehicle in danger.  You could just drive around them and hope nobody else runs into them.  You could stop and remove the obstacle from the road if you don’t put yourself or others in danger doing so.  I’ve done all of these at different times, but any decision has risks and rewards.  How do you deal with life’s obstacles?

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.  Romans 14:21

I saw someone post a question this past week about a scenario they encountered.  They had a relative staying with them for a couple days who was a recovering alcoholic.  They were questioning whether they had the right to have a drink (of alcohol), despite the fact that this person was staying with them during this time.  The (not necessarily Christian) consensus was to ‘suck it up’ for a couple days and put the other person’s needs above their own desires.  As Christians, this should be a no-brainer, but do we ever act in ways that put our own preferences and desires above the needs of someone with less will-power or faith than us?  What stumbling blocks have we not only left for others, but because of our actions or inaction, actually placed in front of others in their walks?  We might feel justified in everything we do, but does that make it always the right or best thing to do? 

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  1 Corinthians 1:22-24

In this passage, we are reminded that God’s way of doing things is often counter to what we would do or expect.  Were there any stumbling blocks or issues that initially kept you from understanding and receiving Christ as your Lord?  For many, the concept that salvation is bestowed on us by grace through faith is counter to our tendency to have to earn everything we have through our own works.  None of us can earn salvation, even after we have received Christ, but there is still a tendency to keep or prove our salvation through our own good works.  None of us are perfect, but are in daily need of God’s grace and forgiveness.  Let us not demand perfection from those around us either, but offer them grace, and forgiveness, and encouragement to grow closer to the Lord.  May your life be one of guidance to those around you, leading them by hand around stumbling blocks and obstacles along the narrow path as they continue to walk toward Jesus!

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.  Romans 14:13

Yours in Christ,
Clark