Flip Flops on “The Red Highway”
With summer comes a change of attire and with that a change of footwear, at least for some of us who look for any excuse to go casual. I love to wear flip flops and can easily recall the day you could refer to them as “thongs” without getting strange looks. With flip flops you can easily take advantage of any green patches of grass along the way by stepping right out of them and onto the coolness of the turf. At the beach you can experience sand and water both, without untying shoe strings, removing socks and then trying to find safe storage for them. Step out of flip flops, insert them in back pocket and “ohhhh” , feet and toes are into the wonderful elements of the beach. All this and convenience too, gotta love them flip flops.
This season can also bring some hazards to those that choose flip flops over more protective footwear. I’ll get back to that shortly. But, right now I’d like to share an excerpt out of Proverbs 6:6, “Go to the ant. Consider her ways and be wise”. God’s creation is “awesome” and we can indeed learn much from it. Blessings are abundant when we regularly and intentionally make time to spend with our Creator in His creation. That scripture has more to do with the wisdom of the ant and its industriousness. But, it was revealed to me that there is more to be learned from ants and this is where my flip flops come in.
My front door has two paths leading to it. I always use the same path, coming and going, day after day. It is the closest, most direct and the most convenient, especially when I have my hands full. I rarely use or think about using the alternate pathway until . . . today. Having dressed in summer attire, including my flip flops, I was ready to face the day. I walked out the front door with backpack, computer bag and a change of clothes just to find that my path of choice had been acquired and a highway was now in full operation. Multiple lanes in both directions were flowing with an occasional slow down when bigger loads were clumsily being moved. The amount of traffic and the overall high speed it was moving was impressive. Just yesterday it was a pathway but today an efficient highway moving the needs of its users. Every highway has a name and what came to mind immediately was “The Red Highway”.
“Red” because of the BIG RED ANTS, a lot of them, all with stingers and they had acquired my path to make their highway. Did I mention they can sting or bite or whatever it is that they do to inflict PAIN? I’ve got flip flops on and I am a creature of habit. This is a full blown flip flop hazard. The engineers who created this highway failed to post signs identifying this hazard. For some divine reason, I saw this pathway makeover, considered my footwear and knew I had no business going down that path. It didn’t take long to consider the risk of attempting to navigate that path given my non protective flip flop wear. I briefly considered attempting it but remembered the consequences (PAIN) of previous ant stings. I considered the delay associated with being stung and whether or not I had what I needed to make a poultice. It was all calculated so quickly. The risk was too high and today it would be the alternate and safe path for me.
That experience got me thinking of the paths we take in life. I can recall going down paths and never once considering how prepared or ill prepared I was. I just went without counting the cost, risk or consequences of that choice. The subject of “consequences” has been on my mind a lot recently as I pray and counsel with men in family crisis. The more I reflected, the more I realized, I had probably thought more about the consequences of navigating ant traffic this morning than some of life’s more important paths that I am currently on. It hit me squarely that I had logically assessed what path to take. I had considered both paths, considered my preparedness, considered the risk and considered the potential consequences. This was done prior to making the decision to go in a particular direction. You may say this is a “no brainer” type decision, walk the path with ants or no ants, that’s simple! You would be right. But take a moment and consider Luke 14:28-30, “For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and consider the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying ‘This man began to build but could not finish’”? Am I, or are you, currently on a path or just about to step onto a path we have no business going down? Have we considered all the potential costs and consequences to others as well as ourselves for the path we are on or about to step out on?
Considering the cost of our thoughts, words and deeds is the question I pose to us as men. Are we intentional in our decision making process ? Do we obtain wise counsel or do we lean on our own understanding or that of the culture? Do we seek out men (advisers) who have been where we are considering going to learn from their success or failures? Do we pray and ask others to pray with us over our choices? Do we consider short term, mid term and long term consequences of our decisions? Do we consider those beyond ourselves who will also be impacted by the consequences of our decisions? Broken children, of all ages (including adults) suffer the consequences for life, from a parents decision to divorce – not to mention grandparents and other extended family members who also suffer. Most importantly do we consider the teachings of Jesus Christ in our attempt to make wise decisions that will result in desirable consequences for ourselves and our families in this generation as well as the next?
“Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.“ Ephesians 5:14-16