Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tourist or Traveler?

As the summer travel season approaches, I would like to ask you to consider this question as you go: Am I a traveler or a tourist?

Being a new resident to the Georgia Coast, I suspect that I am going to meet many of the latter. Tourists breeze into town, see the sights, wonder why things are not the way they are back home, spend a little money and leave. Travelers, on the other hand, take time to explore off the beaten path, get to know the people who live here to understand their unique insights and recognize that while things may be different, that variety offers opportunities to learn and leave richer for the experience. And, yes, they do spend a little money and eventually leave.

I think Jesus was a traveler on earth. He always had time to stop and spend time with people. He took boat rides, hung out in the town square, climbed mountains and hiked into the desert. He often enjoyed good food and fellowship along the way. As you travel, do not be content to be a tourist. Learn to travel.

The metaphor extends to life as well. You can choose to rush hurriedly from "sight to sight" and miss the opportunity enjoy the journey and the people you meet along the way. Or, you can learn to travel and savor the people you meet and the experiences you enjoy. And, if you take time to get to know them, you will hear them express the little hurts, the confusion, and the frustration which opens the door for you to share the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). Be safe. Travel well. Give them Hope.

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