Radiating out from the center of town is usually a number of beautiful old buildings, shops, and gorgeous old homes from a by-gone era. The word that best seems to describe them all is picturesque.
But they have also tended to suffer from a similar ailment in that, for the most part, their respective downtown business districts were pretty much drying up. As a general rule, many of the local businesses had long since relocated out to whatever four lane highway happens to by-pass the particular city in question. Those that have not relocated have had to face the consequences of competing with superstores and fast food franchises which have cropped up. Others simply could not compete and were forced out of business.
As of late, however, it is evident that many of these cities have become intentional about revitalizing their downtown business areas. With funding from grants and other economic initiatives, these efforts have not been without success. As a result, to the credit of many local communities, their respective Main Streets, Broadways, and Central Avenues are now beginning to rebound as they play host to with chic little shops and eateries designed to attract shoppers away from big box stores and franchised restaurants.
However, even the best laid plans can go awry. One such town I passed though recently had completely reworked the intersection between its main street and the four-lane bypassing it. New pavement had been laid down, along with beautiful landscaping, and clearly marked signage encouraging people to visit their downtown area.
The only problem is that the big bold beautiful new sign pointing would-be visitors to the downtown area was pointing in the wrong direction. Downtown was to the left; but the sing pointed to the right. Anyone unfamiliar with the situation and seeking to visit downtown would have actually been directed away from downtown.
Apparently, I was not the only person to note this. Not many days thereafter, when I again passed thought the same intersection, the large sign directing people downtown had been corrected and was now pointing in the right direction.
As I reflected on this, I came to several conclusions. First, anyone can make a mistake. In fact, we all do. The important thing is to fix the mistake once we realize what we have done. But that does not change the fact that mistakes, especially those involving giving direction to other people, are not only counterproductive but often costly.
Now, if this is true in regard to earthly matters such as economics and industry, how much more is it true in regard to spiritual matters? Think about it. As believers, we have been given the responsibility of directing people to the Lord and His Kingdom. But if we give people the wrong directions – that is to say, if we point them in the way they should not go - do we not share some responsibility for their not ever arriving at the desired location?
In light of this, should we not always make absolutely certain that we are being clear about what direction we are pointing people in? Should we not be very careful that we do not mislead people in directing them on their path to Almighty God?
In the 14th chapter of First Corinthians (verses 8 and 9), the Apostle Paul warns us to make sure that we do not sound an unclear trumpet call, but that we speak with words that are clearly understood so as not to confuse others about the gospel. Given this admonition, may we be found faithful in the direction we give others about how they find their way home to God!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/niv/1_corinthians/14.htm.