One of the many memories we keep from our time at Memphis School of Preaching has to be with Brother Garland Elkins and his classes. Most of the time, before we started our class, during our first year, we sang the first stanzas of the hymn written by James Rowe, “The Old Cross Road” which says,
There are many paths through this world of sin,
But there’s only one I shall travel in;
’Tis the old Cross Road, or the way called “Straight”–
There is just one way to the pearly gate.
During the last two weeks, we traveled to several places in Panama, from Chiriquí, to Colón, from Ciudad de Panamá to El Valle de Antón, from Arraiján to San Miguelito, etc. Many paths that we did not know before were visited during the short visit that Ted and Kathy Brooks did to our home.
This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to present, for the first time in Spanish, the Personal Evangelism Seminar that is exposed by my dear friend and brother in Christ, Rob Whitacre, through several states of America. The seminar was held at the congregation in Margarita, Colón, and we hope and pray there will be a lot of good fruits coming from these efforts. The brethren are truly focused on doing the best they can to serve the Lord, and they are seeking for the commitment and organization that is expected from the body of Christ.
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized” (Acts 9:10-18).
As Ananias’ reply to our Lord, there are many brethren out there who are picking the soil, instead of planting the seed. We must rejoice today that Ananias did follow the way that our Lord told him to go. Saul of Tarsus was part of the plan of the Lord, as well as every single lost soul in this world. We do not know how many good fruits will be the result of a soul that has the opportunity to hear the Gospel today. Our work is to do as Apollos and Paul were doing,
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).
Are we doing what is required from each one of us in order to receive our reward? Even with the doubts that Ananias had about Saul, he did what the Lord commanded him to do because he trusted in the Lord.
“And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:12-16).
As the words written by Rowe, there are many paths we can follow in our lifetime, but we must seek for the Straight one, the one that will set us in the path of obedience to our heavenly Father, the one and only that can lead us to the Father, and that path, without any doubt, is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
At that time, if Ananias decides to take a different path than the one that leads to the street called Straight, then he would not be able to fulfill the order that our Lord gave him. If Saul does not act according to what Ananias told him to do, then he would not be able to bear the name of our Lord before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.
Today, if we do not follow the path of salvation that is provided unto us through the Scriptures, then we will not be able to receive the reward that is waiting for us in heaven (James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Revelation 2:10). Let us keep in our mind that we will reap according to what we sow (1 Corinthians 3:8; Galatians 6:7-8; Revelation 22:12).
We need to get busy in doing according to what we were commanded to do. To preach the Word to all the world is not a task that is only related to evangelists or ministers, but to every Christian. It is the plea of this writer that everyone who is reading this chooses the strait gate instead of the wide one (Matthew 7:13-14). There are many paths, but only one is the right one. Please, do not delay in your decision to walk in the way that leads to the pearly gate.
God bless you!