A heard the story told of a man who headed for the bar every night. He had a small son and one snowy night as he walked along the street, he happened to look behind him. There was his son, stretching his legs as far as he could, trying to put his little shoes in his daddy’s footsteps. Will the person “behind us” find us faithful?
In the early 18th century, transportation was the heavy Conestoga wagons. According to one authority, drivers of these wagons could see the road better from the left side of the wagon driven on the right side of the road — rather than on the left side of the road, as in Britain. Other vehicles found it was more convenient to follow in the ruts left by the heavy wagons and ultimately, it became the law for a vehicle to be on the right side of the road with the driver’s seat on the left side of the vehicle.
Much of our behavior is influenced by those before us. We have role models early in life. We tend to mimic those we hold in esteem — right or wrong. It’s more convenient just to “follow in the ruts.” That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but every action should be made with wisdom — we can’t follow everything with no thought of the direction it takes us.
A newlywed lady wanted to prepare a special baked-ham dinner for her husband. She called her mother to get directions. “I always cut the end off the ham before basting it and placing it in the oven,” the mother said.
The daughter asked, “Why do you do that?”
“Well, my mother did and I learned from her.”
Her daughter decided she would find out more, so she called her grandmother. “Why do you cut the end off the ham before you bake it? Mother said she learned that from you,” she said.
Her grandmother laughed. “Well, I cut it off because it was too big for the pan I had.”
Sometimes guidance and advice is colored by personal experiences which may not apply at all to the person seeking help. But wisdom and knowledge from God will always be confirmed by the Word and provide safety and assurance.
Paul gave the young minister Timothy good advice. “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, know of whom thou hast learned them;” (2 Timothy 3:14). That advice will get a person through many questionable situations. In other words, you can’t go wrong if you go forward in what you have learned and proven and know those who taught you.
You see, Paul continued, telling Timothy, “... from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
It’s not enough to say, “We’ve always done it this way” — That’s not what Paul was telling Timothy. In fact that phrase may just indicate “we’re in a rut” and “although I don’t know why I’m doing this, I’ll keep on.”
A new policeman was given his duty for the day, which was to patrol a certain park bench. He did as he was told, and guarded the bench all day. When he went back to the station after his shift, he questioned why he was patrolling the bench. No one knew, so they began to search the records. They learned that years earlier, the bench had been painted and a policeman stood guard to keep anyone from sitting on it before it was dry.