By Rick A. Hughes
In days gone by, nearly every neighborhood and housing addition had sidewalks. It was a given. Sidewalks represented community, and connecting each house to the house next door and ultimately to the entire block was the goal. Sidewalks were the connecting point between people and their neighbors.
Unobstructed sidewalks implied an open invitation that said ‘Come see me.’ Come visit me.’ You are welcome here.’ The fact neighborhoods had sidewalks demonstrated a desire to connect the neighbors to the block and to the entire addition. Cluttered sidewalks implied ‘no trespassing.’ Vehicles parked across the sidewalk or clutter obstructing a sidewalk sent a message saying ‘I don’t want to be connected or bothered.’
Sadly, sidewalks have become nearly extinct. Most housing additions today do not have sidewalks connecting homes together. In fact, today’s society has adopted the ‘gated community’ approach where people enter their gate code to drive into their private neighborhood, pull into their driveway, press the button on the garage door opener, drive into the garage and shut the door, entering the fortress of their homes with absolutely no interaction with the neighbors. In spite of the emphasis on ‘social media’, society as whole has lost its sense of community and connectedness. Modern technology has eliminated much of our interpersonal relationships. Sidewalks seem so ‘old-fashioned.’
Do You Have A Sidewalk? In a broader sense than just referring to the concrete pathway between two homes, this question begs numerous other questions: ‘How interested are you in others?’ How open are you to reach out?’ Are you inwardly or outwardly focused?’ More important than whether or not your neighborhood has physical sidewalks, the greater issue is whether you have sidewalks in your life. A critical key to reaching this generation is relationships, which are represented by sidewalks.
First and foremost, do you have a sidewalk to God? This refers to the vertical relationship with Jesus Christ, between Heaven and Earth. Are you truly connected to Jesus? Do you have a strong relationship with Heaven? Jesus will enable you to love everybody, and will give you a burden for people unlike you. Some have allowed weeds and clutter to obstruct passage. Having and maintaining an unobstructed sidewalk is costly but well worth the effort.
Second, and much like the first, do you have a sidewalk to people, to your neighbors? This refers to the horizontal relationships with people, others, neighbors, and the lost? Are you truly connected to people? We cannot connect people to Jesus until we first connect to people, and it is difficult to connect to people without first connecting to Jesus. After first connecting to Jesus through vertical sidewalks, it becomes easy to love people and create horizontal sidewalks. The three most important aspects of soul winning are relationships, relationships, relationships. Some have blocked others out by allowing clutter to keep anyone from getting too close to them.
Opportunities are everywhere if you have a sidewalk. We must first win people to us before we can ever win them to Christ. It should come as no surprise the cross is the intersection, the bridge between Heaven and Earth, between God and mankind. When we have a vertical sidewalk with Jesus Christ, and a horizontal sidewalk with people, the sidewalks form a cross where they intersect! No accident, the cross of Jesus Christ is the bridge linking God to fallen man, and then linking redeemed man to others who are still lost in sin.
Jesus commanded in the Great Commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). It is impossible to reach the lost if we have no sidewalks to connect us.
Do you have a sinner friend? For the record, Jesus had a reputation as the friend of sinners. Do you have a sidewalk?
The above article, “Do You Have a Sidewalk?” is written by Rick A. Hughes. The article was excerpted from Oklahoma Beacon.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.