Posted by: Jo | March 9, 2012

Tourist Or Pilgrim

“This is what the Lord says, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Some of the favourite T.V. programs my husband and I like to watch are those travel Pilgrim04series that are hosted by some genial travel guide that after a few viewings, one feels has become a close friend. We travelled a great deal when we were young, but nowadays arm chair travel is so much more comfortable than the real thing and there is no fuss with passports and security and all those other incidentals that plague travelers. Our only complaint with this type of travel is the speed in which our hosts rush us through beautiful cities and often when we would linger to have more time to absorb some complexity of the culture, our host is introducing us to, we are whisked off to yet another set of ruins or yet another bustling market. The big crowd scenes are the ones that tug at my heart the most, as I glimpse perhaps a small child with sad eyes, or look deep into a stranger’s face and wonder what pain has etched those lines on a face that has no smile to give, or has nobody noticed that old lady staggering under a load too heavy for her? I want to cry out to the camera man to stop and look more closely at the people rather than some ancient mosaic, but thePilgrim02 camera sweeps on and those sad faces are left behind with their stories left untold.

Life is often referred to as a journey and as I was pondering about the last travel series we had watched, I thought how true to life it was. Do we look at life through tourist’s eyes, only seeing fleetingly what is really happening around us? Are we so busy getting to the next big adventure we have lost sight of those who are on the journey with us? Do we see life as a constant seeking of self-gratification? Or do we see life as a sacred pilgrimage? A journey we take with others. A journey that in itself reflects the glory of the one we serve.

Over three hundred years ago John Bunyan wrote his famous hymn about just this topic, “He who would valiant be”. When I was a child this hymn was often sung on a Sunday morning in church and we called it “The Pilgrim Song” and I am sure I didn’t grasp the true meaning of these beautiful words, but I can remember all of us children shouting out the last line of each verse, because it had such a satisfying ring to it,

To be a pilgrim

So what did John Bunyan mean by that refrain? When I checked the dictionary I found Picture 006this definition, “one who journeys to a sacred place” The emphasis being on where the pilgrim was going was of the utmost importance. To be a pilgrim, where you were going and why you were going was the reason for the journey.

So how does our life become more pilgrim-like rather than tourist like?

Fortunately for those of us who love the Lord we have the perfect travel guide to refer to whenever we need direction.

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” (Proverbs 4:25)

Don’t focus on worthless things. Fix your eyes on Jesus

“Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” (Proverbs 4:26)

Remove any moral hindrance that might trip you

“Do not swerve to the right or to the left; keep your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:27)

Make sure you are not distracted by any false teaching

When we earnestly desire our lives to be more pilgrim-like, we can sense the Lord walking along side of us and will hear him whisper,

“I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths” (Proverbs 4:11)



  1. This entry really spoke to me when I read it today. Sometimes it’s interesting how the Lord speaks to people, he uses the days technology or the most rudimentary means. 🙂 God bless.


  2. […] Tourist Or Pilgrim ( […]


  3. Profound. Thank you for a much-needed message. Now, to dust-off my sandles to continue this pilgrimmage, being ever-so grateful for the special people God provides to make this journey a joyful one – even in the midst of trouble, as He promised.


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