Grand Commandery Knights Templar Rhode Island & Massachusetts
Don’t Forget Your Compass!
As a man who enjoys the outdoors, it has been encouraging to see all the new people out hiking, biking and spending time in the fresh air as a result of the pandemic. I have been doing it my whole life, but the new enthusiasts are always welcome, and I encourage them with every opportunity. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of amateurs are on the learning curve at the same time, and we have all seen the various tragedies in the news. Overestimating your abilities or not being properly equipped can lead to disaster for someone who is inexperienced.
We have also noticed an increase among those people who are searching for spiritual answers in the shadows of the life altering pandemic that has swept the globe. Maybe life is not as secure and certain as people once thought, and they are rightfully questioning their own mortality and eternal destiny. But again, that means that a lot of amateur theologians are on the learning curve as they try to navigate the complex map of religion. And just like the person who decides to put on a pair of sneakers and climb Mount Washington in November, they are headed for disaster, or at least a very bad experience.
So as Christians who have already discovered the truth about faith in Jesus Christ, it now becomes our duty to look out for those seekers and young believers who desperately need our guidance and help finding their way to Christ. Just remember back to the early days of your faith and all the questions and quandaries that you faced. You will undoubtedly recall that God was faithful to put people in your life to help guide you and to show you the way. Perhaps it was a parent or family member, a Sunday School teacher or that guy who holds up the John 3:16 sign in the endzone, but God was faithful to send you a compass to give you direction.
Now it is our turn to be a compass for God. It may be a friend or another family member that has been quietly questioning their existence in the light of the pandemic, or just questioning their happiness in a chaotic world. They are looking for answers and searching for the truth, so it is the perfect opportunity for us to show them the way. But it is critically important to remember that seekers and new believers do not have your experience or expertise, so you will need to be patient and lovingly kind. In the same way that you would not start a new backpacker on a hundred-mile journey through the White Mountains, you need to accept people as they are and help them to see the alternative that Christ has to offer. Discipleship can be a very slow process, but it is a process that Jesus illustrated with his own loving kindness and patience.
When I come across a new hiker who is filled with zeal and ambition and wants to conquer the highest mountain or traverse the longest trail, I congratulate them and encourage them the best that I can. But I also look for an opportunity to caution them and to point them in the right direction. I fondly remember the experienced people in my life who took the time to check my bearings and to point me in the right direction and I want to do the same for others. Do you know someone who is lost, or headed in the wrong direction? Is there someone in your life that is searching for truth or asking spiritual questions in a roundabout way? Then be God’s compass and help those seekers through the twists and turns of the spiritual learning curve! You did it, and so can they! Happy trails, Pilgrim!
In His Service,
SK and Rev. Paul M. Starratt
Associate Grand Prelate
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