Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 1 John 3:7 (NIV)
We went to Alafia State Park for a poker ride. In a poker ride, you pay a fee, get a map and collect cards as you ride along the trail. The cards are located in baskets along the route in sealed envelopes marked with the number of that stop. At the end of the day, you turn in your cards to the “dealer” who opens your envelopes and totals up your hand. The highest three hands win prizes. Occasionally the baskets holding the cards are placed in easier places than others and sometimes, you only need five cards to pay. This ride was a seven card ride and the baskets were hidden well, so it took us more than three hours to find all our cards. My friend has a Paso Fino and all her friends ride them as well. Pasos have a quick short gait that enables them to move fast and smoothly while my Morgan takes long sweeping strides. I bounce around the trail as he runs to keep up with the Pasos. Several times, we all had to stop and consult the map. Finally, we realized that we were not going to find the buckets if we had to argue about which direction to go all the time. So, two riders took charge of the navigation. They ride at Alafia frequently and know the trails well. But, at one point, even though I am not as experienced as they are, I knew we were headed the wrong way. I spoke up and tried to convince them of their error, but no one would listen. My friend and I discussed leaving the group and going the right way, but didn’t. It was fun to stay with the group and we were afraid to venture out alone. After taking a long tortuous route in a circle and passing the same marker twice, they realized what I had tried to tell them earlier. We backtracked to return to the right path. But, in the meantime, I got smacked in the face with a tree branch causing my nose to bleed and my riding pants, saddle pad and Trucker’s mane and tail became embedded with burrs. For a time, I was lost and not having fun. I suffered the consequences of choosing to go along with the crowd. While we have the ability to influence our world, it can sway us as well. Even when we have a map (the Bible) that shows us how to live, when we have the Holy Spirit telling us what is right), we still choose not to go against the tide. When that happens, not only do we loose the opportunity to make an impact for good, we are disobedient and can get caught up in sin. I am still picking burrs off of my horse. Next time, I will save myself a lot of trouble if I have the courage to do what is right regardless of what everyone else chooses to do.