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The Judgement
by Bro. Clifford Hurst

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417

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" It's all about the journey." For some reason this ubiquitous cliché has begun to irritate me, and I know that is unfair. Perhaps the irritation comes from its making so many appearances in testimonies and sermons. An expanded version of this vogue idiom is "The journey is more important than the destination." I know how I hear people using the phrase, but trying to nail down its exact meaning is a bit tricky. I think originally it meant something like learn to live for the present not missing the moment by being all absorbed in the future goal. It has, I believe, its roots in Buddha's famous saying, "Happiness is a journey and not a destination." I can understand this meaning; it means "take the time to smell the roses." Some more thoughtfully apply the saying to the idea that if one doesn't get the process right (the journey), he will never reach the goal (the destination). Thus, the journey is more important. Expressed more personably, life's journey is made of all kinds of experiences both pleasant and not pleasant, but going through all of them is part of a process of growth, development, achievement without which one isn't ever going to arrive at his desired goal. I get this too. My aversion to the phrase comes from the fact that so many in today's society, making life all about themselves, have come to view their each and every personal experience the most important thing of existence. That is why they post what they had for breakfast as a matter of great significance. Life is all about their existential experience of the present moment. They emphasize this by their constant emoting, posting selfies, live streaming, etc. Neither getting to the destination nor even the growth in traversing the way is any longer the focus. Rather, what's important is my conscious stream of experiences and my emoting them as if my life would make a good documentary. The journey is seen as the end in itself without any consideration of the destination. That might be o.k. for a boat ride. My wife and I enjoy the boat ride at Cincinnati. You board the boat, ride up river, see the sights, pass the dock going back downriver, see the sights, and then return to the dock. It is all about the journey and not the destination. If there is no eternity, then it IS all about the journey. We come into existence, take our boat ride of life, and then leave existence. But, what if there is an eternity with two possible destinations--conscious eternal joy or conscious eternal suffering? Suddenly, there's an inversion of the importance of the journey over the destination. The destination is then all important. Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Mat 7:13-14). Considering this, suddenly, it isn't so much what the journey is like. It is where it ends. Which journey would you rather take? A smooth, straight road, lined with beautiful trees, dotted with frequent comfortable rest stops, in a brand new Cadillac with a great AC and satellite radio. Or, would you prefer to take a journey over a winding, bumpy graveled road, through ugly terrain, no places to stop and rest or picnic, in an old broken-down used car, with an AC that didn't work and only am radio. Of course, you would choose the first journey. But, what if I told you that the first journey ended with a plunge into a steep ravine as you drove out onto a bridge that would collapse under you. And, I also told you that the second journey ended in wonderful, modern, beautiful home with every comfort overlooking the greatest of scenery--a home that someone has just given to you, deed included. Suddenly, it wouldn't be about the journey. It would be about the destination. The most important thing about the journey is where it ends, and because of that, "sweeter gets the journey everyday."

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