Walking the Jesus Trail soon after Nazareth, on the stone to the left a Jesus Trail mark (from here)

What is the purpose of life? Is it just being alive, or is this life preparation for something better? Are you a wanderer or a pilgrim? Are you aimless, or do you have a specific destination in mind?

This is a subject I have posted about in the past. When someone sent me an email containing a Tao Meditation, I wrote Dismount your donkey at the summit in response, pointing out that the donkey we choose to ride makes a difference. All donkeys do not take us to the same destination, that is, the submit where we wish to arrive.

What brought me to this subject again? I read Everett Piper‘s column, The magic for the new year.

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

One of mine is “The Polar Express.”

As you likely know, this film is a digitally animated 3D production that stars Tom Hanks as the conductor of a train that takes its passengers on a magical Christmas Eve trip to the North Pole. All along the way the children on the journey must decide if they “believe” in Christmas. One boy in particular has his doubts. The train ride represents his struggle. Is Christmas real or just a childhood fantasy?

At the end of the movie, the little boy is wrestling with what to think of his adventure. What should he believe? What is true and what is false? The conductor (Mr. Hanks) then turns to the boy and says, “The one thing about trains: It doesn’t matter where you’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.” (continued here)

Curiously, although Piper likes this movie, he detests that quote. Piper very much believes the train matters. Different trains take us to the different places. Consider this excerpt from his column.

In the 1990s, there was another movie that also featured a train ride. This train, however, was not leading to the magical snow-filled skies of the North Pole but, instead, to the infamous and ash-laden courtyards of Auschwitz and Dachau. The movie was “Schindler’s List” and, in this film, we see it does, indeed, matter which train one chooses to get on. (from here)

Please read Piper’s column. Then consider what you are doing with your life. Are you just passing through, or do you have a purpose for your life? Are you seeking the truth, or are you denying that any truth exists?

John 14:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many[a]mansions; if it were not so,[b]I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If the destination does not matter, why bother with the journey? If life has no purpose, why live it? If we want to go somewhere good — make a journey that is well worth the effort — then we each need to get on the donkey, board the train, or walk the way that takes us to Jesus.

Other Views


  1. Tom.

    A lot of people I’ve l sinful or otherwise without worrying about what happens when they die.

    Sometimes, when people get old, our merciful God allows them to become senile so they can stop worrying about where they are going to wind up when they die.

    Regards and good will blogging.

    1. @Scatterwisdom

      Well, I suppose that makes senility a blessing, but that only works When someone is so senile they have forgotten they are losing their memory.

  2. Reminds me of a guy flying to NY from LA, vs his brother who drove. Both got there, and one in record time, but the other saw things the brother with his head in the clouds could only dream of.

    The redwoods, the Rockies, the talks with small town heroes in filling stations, the diners, the wheat and corn fields, the streams, rivers, watching the wonderful landscape changes, (even flat as a pancake Kansas has its charm) the storms, rainbows, you name it, all things experienced from below, so yeah, the journey this way has an edge.

    Then again, the guy in the plane had conversations maybe that were well worth missing if he drove…………Either way, in the end, I suppose its all about the Conductor, and can we trust Him to take us to safety and not to an oven…………..

    Good stuff Ct.

    1. Always liked driving versus flying, but sometime we cannot afford the time.

      Drove to my military assignment in Alaska all the way from Texas. Boarded the ferry part of the way. After my time was done, I went home. However, I had my car shipped to Seattle, and I got an airplane. Driving in Alaska in January can be a bit too much of experience, but when we are young…. Well, wisdom is an acquired virtue.

  3. I agree with IB. Seems like a false choice.

    I think about the Ultra Trail Running that my daughter does and that I pace her at sometimes. Sometimes you are not really interested in a physical destination, a point on a map. Sometimes you are running to train toward a larger goal such as greater endurance and resiliency. Sometimes you trying to increase your distance each day. But sometimes you are running for the shear joy of running, feeling the beat of your heart, your lungs filling again with the clean air, the rhythm of moving through verdant forest and glen. Sometimes it’s enough to just be on your way and covering ground and feeling grateful that God have you this. Sometimes in those moments, it seems like you are already almost there, although you are in the middle of nowhere at all.

      1. Yes, and that’s why it is a false choice. Both the destination and the joy and love that one gives to the run matter. Think of it in terms of means and ends – both matter. One can imagine that no Saint ever got to Heaven by not being both in the heart of moment and in that goal. Perhaps I’m missing what you objection is here. Please explain.

    1. @tsalmon

      After I responded I remembered a couple of Bible passages appropriate to your comment.


      The first is from Hebrews.

      Hebrews 12:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
      The Race of Faith

      12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

      The second is from 1 Corinthians.

      1 Corinthians 9:24-27 New King James Version (NKJV)
      Striving for a Crown

      24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may [a]obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize [b]is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

      Of course, the context of these passages matters. Therefore, if you want to understand them well, it is important to read what is written before and after these passages occur in the Bible.

      1. Yes it is important. So rather than throw out passages, explain how they aptly relate to topic please.

        1. @tsalmon

          It is not that complicated, but human nature is what it is. Unless they tell us what we want to hear, nobody is else is right.😞

          Note two of the links I posted in the “Other Views” section:

          ‘The destination is the journey’ (jpost.com)
          The journey is the destination (themennonite.org)

          The titles are both saying much the same thing. The journey and the destination are inextricably linked. Where we end up depends upon where our journey takes us. How we get to where we are going depends upon where we want to go.

          Without some form of revelation from God, we are lost. Imagine trying to get somewhere you have never been before on a dark night without any directions. How will that work out? The Bible is like a map or a GPS system. If we want to find salvation, we must find Jesus. The Bible takes us on a journey that leads to Jesus.

          Will my journey or your journey be exactly the same? Nope. We are all different. We all start from different places and travel in our own fashion. Still, we can all use the same map or GPS system.

  4. Hmmm, I really disliked the Polar Express. I thought it was just depressing, full of nihilism, and perhaps even scary.

    I think the journey really matters, the process is important, the training. We are training for our destination. So yes, what matters is the journey,but if you don’t have any idea where you are going, you’re just lost. There are a lot of lost people in the world, that’s why we call them “the lost.”

    But I think the dysfunction is complicated.In the West we’re all about the destination, the results,the reward. The last Star Wars movie for example, “poof” she’s a Jedi knight, no training, no journey,she simply magically arrives at her destination. Our culture does that too, when we falsely believe we can just self actualize our destination. So, “poof you’re a woman now.” Pardon my great offense here, but no. That is actually a journey that requires a great deal of preparation, beginning at birth. 🙂

    1. @IB

      I suppose I should admit I have never watched “The Polar Express”. Stopped watching TV and movies in 1982. Just got sick of it. There is some stuff worth watching, I suppose, but I don’t want wade through so much that isn’t to find it.

      We are actually saying pretty much the same thing about the importance of the journey. The journey matters because it gets us to the destination. If we don’t make the journey, we don’t get to the destination. However, if we are not going to the right destination, that’s a big problem. If we don’t seek the right destination, we are going to wrong place.

      The lost are a bit crazy. Magical thinking is part of it, especially in the entertainment industry.

      Think of all the “science” the lost believe that they cannot begin to prove. Yet they fashion themselves as the lords and ladies of reason.

  5. Awesome post Tom. Happy new year as we draw one year closer to our destination.❤️

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