images-2I’ve never witnessed or been a part of a stampede.  Every once in a while we read a story in the news of a large crowd of people at an event in which people are injured as a result of a stampede.  I’ve seen video of a herd of cattle or buffalo suddenly becoming spooked or excited, resulting in a stampede.

The dictionary defines stampede as a “headlong rush of animals” or a “sudden rush of people.”  It seems that there are a few key characteristics within any stampede.  First of all, there must be a crowd of some sort.  One person or one animal cannot make a stampede.  Secondly, there must be a collective sense of either fear or excitement.  Something must motivate this crowd into believing that motion is imperative.  And third, direction is irrelevant as long as everyone is going the same way and keeps moving.  Curious.  It doesn’t especially matter where the crowd is going; but it is vitally important that everyone keeps moving.

With that said, it seems that I live in a neighborhood that is stampeding.  Direction does not especially matter, as long as everyone keeps moving.  I am quite sure I will be trampled by the Home Owners Association if the paint on my house starts chipping, or the weeds in my front lawn get too thick.  I might fall underfoot unless my kids are enrolled for more events, classes, lessons, teams, and competitions.  I am tempted to stop and question where all of this frantic movement is intended to go.  But that question is meet with blank stares from those around me.  I have no idea where this lifestyle is intended to go; all I know is that everyone else around me is going this way.  I better go this way too.  Direction is irrelevant as long as everyone is going the same way and keeps moving.  It’s a stampede.

I think it makes me just a little more attentive to the importance of direction.  Collective movement without clear direction is nothing more than a stampede.  Direction gives purpose beyond merely keeping up with everyone else.  I thank God for the gift of direction.  I thank God that life is not aimless movement among a crowd—or at least it doesn’t have to be.

I am excited to be a part of a church where direction is important.  I’m happy that the church I am a part of is not moving somewhere just for the sake of movement.  I am grateful that God gives direction so that our movement goes somewhere significant.  If we truly follow Christ, then it seems like the last thing we should do is blend in by doing everything just like everybody else.

Keep moving…and know where you’re going.

Till next time…

~pastor tom