"What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth...The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose..." - I Corinthians 3:5-6, 8a
We've only just met Ruby, but now we're piled into her SUV on our way to the trailhead. She's giving us the lay of the land:
"Follow the yellow blazes. If you haven't seen one in a while, turn around. You know about the river crossing? It shouldn't be too bad now, maybe a foot deep. But this spring..."
She tells us about posting signs when the river was too high to ford. She warns us about the bear that stole one hiker's boots. She brags on the beauty of the trail near her home in Lincoln County.
Ruby is a volunteer. One of hundreds who dutifully maintain a few miles of the Ice Age Trail as it winds through Wisconsin. She checks the water level. She clears fallen trees with her chainsaw. She shuttles out-of-towners across two counties on a Tuesday morning.
Ruby is an expert. She knows every curve and climb in her section. She warns us of its obstacles and impresses upon us its specialness. She wants to hear if anything is amiss.
Ruby is a disciple. Like Paul and Apollos, she undertakes her labor with seriousness and love. Like them, she cooperates with others to a common purpose. Like them, she knows she can only take responsibility for a small section of the way, and God will have to get us to the end.
Trailblazer, show me the path that is mine to care for. Bless those who travel my way.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.