In the great poem by Robert Frost, a traveler tries to decide about which path to take. The Road Not Taken is the most famous misunderstood poem. Frost wrote the poem as a joke about his friend who could never make up his mind on a route when walking. The poem is not about making your own way but rather about indecisiveness and regret. On Sunday, we will look at the poem and compare its themes to Scripture.
Use the following guide to prepare for Sunday. Onward!
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Monday’s Passage to Read: Read Acts 13:42-52. This text will also be the focus for the sermon. Paul and Barnabas are missionaries sent by the church at Antioch. After sailing to Cyprus, they eventually land in Antioch of Pisidia in modern-day Turkey. They are invited to speak in the synagogue, and Paul begins to preach. As you read, notice how the journey was about sharing the good news of Jesus. On Sunday, we’ll go deeper. But the way to avoid regret in your life is to make every decision with the gospel in mind.
Tuesday’s Devotional Thought: When I was finishing college, I struggled with where I needed to apply for a job. My degree in finance could have taken me in a number of directions. Like the traveler in the Frost poem, I tried to peer down each path to see what the future might hold. Questions about the future consumed my thoughts. If I chose commercial lending, would I regret it? What if I should pursue a career in personal finance? Perhaps I should take the path of being a stockbroker? I could not pursue every career, so a choice was necessary.
My college pastor gave me great advice. “Sam, choose a path and honor God. He is sovereign over any of these choices.” He was right. We have free will to make choices, but God is sovereign over all of them. God is in control regardless of which path you choose. Sometimes the will of God is more about obedience in a decision than the decision itself. I ended up in commercial lending as a large corporate underwriter. Then I moved to trading commodity futures. Then God called me to be a pastor. I tried to see the future, but I had no clue. Thankfully, God was already in my future!
When Paul and Barnabas sailed to Cyprus on their first missionary journey, I wonder if they had similar thoughts. Which direction? What is the next city? Every choice we make is an opportunity for regret or fulfillment. When they had to shake the dust from their feet, did they have any regrets? Perhaps. More likely, they realized the opportunity to continue on God’s path. Acts 13:52 mentions the believers were filled with joy, not regret. They knew God would send them to another place to share the good news.
In the Frost poem, the traveler has regret about the road not taken. The traveler then lies to himself about the choice he made. The last line of the poem records how his choice “made all the difference.” But there is no way he can know this truth. He assumes his choice was the best simply because he made it.
When you honor God in your choices, the path chosen is less important than the way God uses you while on that path. Honor God. Obey God. And Jesus will make all the difference.
A truthful witness saves lives,
but a false witness is a traitor.
Is your heart a truthful witness? Or does your heart betray you? This proverb is extremely practical. Truth saves. Lies deceive and betray. Take a moment, look inward, and examine yourself. Are you telling yourself the truth? Or are you deceiving yourself? Seek God’s truth, and your heart bend toward salvation.
Thursday’s Prayer through Scripture: Read Acts 13:51 and meditate on the phrase “shook the dust.” This gesture was symbolic. Jews would shake the dust off their feet after being in a Gentile town they believed to be defiled. Ironically, in this case, it is Jewish dirt because the religious leaders were preventing the spread of the gospel. What dust do you need to shake? What is in your life that is getting in the way of sharing Jesus’ good news?
Friday’s Bible Project Video: Watch this final video clip about the book of Acts. If you need to catch up on this Acts video series, then you can find the first video here, the second video here, and the third video here.