"So, there aren't any tours without a guide?"
It's one of the most common questions I hear since beginning my new job here at a snowmobile touring company, and it's the most interesting, in my opinion.
Our tours are all guided- meaning that when you make a reservation with us, we not only provide the gear and the snowmobile, but we also give you the most valuable thing of all-- a guide.
But so many people don't see it that way.
They want to be able to rip around on the trails on their own, unguided.
I'm not really sure why, in all actuality.
There are so many hazards out there- tree stumps and sharp turns and places where the snowdrifts are too deep to dig out of, should they happen to drive off the trail. A guide not only points out the trouble ahead, but also leads the way so the group doesn't get lost. They're there in case the guests forget the instructions or forget how to run the machine. They point out the cool stuff on the trails so the guests don't miss it. They're right there in case of trouble or a question about the machines.
The guides are the most important part of the tour.
Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” - Numbers 27:15-17
Toward the end of Moses's life, God tells him plainly that he won't be living to see his people entering the Promised Land.
God tells Moses that he's going to die.
And interestingly, Moses doesn't plead for his life, or question God's decision. He doesn't even say he's sorry for the sin that prevents him from finishing the journey. Instead, he says this:
Appoint someone to lead the people.
Moses understands how important it is to have a leader.
He understands that without a strong, God-appointed leader in place, his beloved nation- the chosen ones- will fall to confusion and chaos.
They need someone to lead the way, to take them where they need to go, or they'll get into trouble. They'll forget the instructions. They'll get lost on the way. The Israelites need someone to help dig them out when they get in over their heads, and someone to point out just how good God is to them.
God appoints Joshua (or "Jeshua"- in Greek, "Jesus") to lead the way. To be their guide. To be the shepherd to His sheep.
The nation of Israel weren't very well behaved sheep, though. They rebel and distrust and complain (oh how they complain!)... and I can't say I'm much better.
Hundreds of years later, another man named Jesus arrived as the ultimate Shepherd. He led the way not only to the Promised Land, but to eternal relationship with God. He showed us the way to go, and got us out of trouble once and for all.
But oh, how easy it is for me to try to reserve my tour through this life without a Guide.
Because, yeah, I know it's safer and all... but... I like to go my own way. My stubborn independence gets the best of me, and I don't much like someone telling me what to do. Can't I just decide what's right on my own?
But I've seen what happens when I ignore my Guide, when I go off on my own.
It always ends badly, and I come back to Him again to ask Him to dig me out, to remind me of what I'm supposed to do, to forgive the bumps and bruises I've incurred along the way.
I get lost in the details and forget the big picture.
I go too fast and miss the amazing beauty of this place, of this life. I miss the miracles.
I'm like a sheep without a shepherd.
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