Is It The Right Train?


My dad was a railroad man.

Lots of cool perks for the son of the roundhouse foreman. Ride with the engineer and drive the train. Operate the turntable. Special times for a little kid.

The biggest benefit, though, was free tickets. Train travel was dependable, clean, safe (and fun!). We rode any time – no charge. It was great, with one small disclaimer.

Dad’s company was The Milwaukee Road, which operated a single main line. Chicago – Milwaukee – Minneapolis – Tacoma. One passenger train each day, both directions. Big comfy seats, great service, can’t possibly get lost. Board the train, settle in, and enjoy the ride.

Perfect, unless you want to go to Pittsburgh.

Amazing how closely our family travels in those days mirrored the railroad’s route. Lots of reasons, I suppose, for a young family with small children, but it’s clear the route dictated many of our choices. Once you board a train, you go where it goes. If you decide you want to go somewhere the train won’t take you, the next decision is clear: Get off the train.

I’m pondering this because we just concluded an incredible FREEDOM TOUR ’18. Tempting to just keep it going, streamline things, make incremental improvements. After six years, the train’s pretty safe and comfortable – why not settle in and enjoy the scenery?

Dream-followers, you and I, need to ask two fundamentally different questions.

Management question: How do we make this train run more smoothly?

Leadership question: Where do we want to go?

Of course we want smooth-running, safe, efficient trains. But it strikes me that the big questions about following Jesus aren’t about being safe or streamlined. Seems to me He cared more about following the right path, moving in the right direction.

Can’t do that if you’re on the wrong train.

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