Moses and the Labyrinth

While away on my recent retreat I spent some time wandering through the monastery’s labyrinth.  Now, in the past, labyrinths have always been one of those things that were amazing in concept, disappointing in reality to me… until now.  As I began the journey through the twists and turns I began having an internal conversation with myself that went something like this:

This is goofy… I am walking around in a giant circle.

The center of this thing is right over there… would it be a bad thing if I just walked over the lines to say I made it?

Seriously?  The center is RIGHT. OVER. THERE.  Why do I need to walk further away from it?

I wonder if this is how Moses felt: the promised land is RIGHT. OVER. THERE. but the path is leading me somewhere else.

That crushed me.

By wiring I am a visionary.  I see cool possibilities, and then I start to chase after them.  I also love systems and structures: once we have a vision, I create the framework we need to make it all happen.  There are times when my skills and abilities are of incredible benefit to those with whom I serve… and then there are times when I get ahead of myself, and forget that the journey is important too.

Church planters, church revitalization guys, and leaders often forget this… the journey is a place of refinement personally, and organizationally.  We must go through the journey in order to get to the place that God is leading us.  One of my former pastors languished in his own church planting desert for several years, often wrestling with whether to shut the church down or not, before he was spiritually ready to lead a large and growing church.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened had Moses said “forget this pillar of fire thing, forget the doubters, and forget this wandering around business… let’s just go in!”  

I wonder how often I try and do just that.

Are YOU embracing the journey, or forcing the goal?



About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.

  • @PastorDoyleB

    Great article Matt. Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I feel like it’s just not going to happen, then God sends someone to confirm that it will and it renews my strength. Thank you for giving to us what God gives to you.

  • R Douglas Jones

    “leaders” most important lesson they can “master” is learning to follow.

  • http://twitter.com/RachelWojo Rachel Wojnarowski

    This is a great post! In.His.Time. Stopping over from Bryan Allain’s . Thanks for linking!

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      My pleasure, thanks for stopping by!

  • http://profiles.google.com/revedblonski Ed Blonski

    It amazes me sometimes how much of what we experience today is “nothing new.” I’ve been studying for an upcoming sermon and came across an editorial written 150 years ago this month to the president of the United States.

    Same concept, “IT’S. RIGHT. OVER. THERE. Let’s get going!”

    Thanks! I’m sharing this post with a church planter friend of mine right now!

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      Oh yeah… church planters NEED to get this… or they will rip out their hair.

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    I’m totally captivated by labyrinths. You’re right — in this culture, we are not used to waiting, following a weaving road, moving away from what’s right there. What labyrinths seem to say is that life is so cyclical. We are always spiraling in and out. That there is purpose in the circling. Thanks for the insight.

    • http://www.churchthought.com Matt Steen

      “There is purpose in the circling”

      Good word!