I may have been born in Florida and spent some years in Minnesota, but a good portion of my childhood, all my teens, and half my twenties were spent in Texas. The old bumper sticker reads, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got there as quickly as I could.”
Texans are a proud bunch, and rightly so. The Republic of Texas has a captivating history. Every student in every school across the state has Texas’ history drilled into them till it almost becomes part of who they are. Truth be told, there are some powerful lessons to be learned from its rich history.
For example, the rag-tag Texas army was holed-up in the Spanish mission in San Antonio commonly referred to now as “The Alamo.” Mexican general Santa Anna and approximately 5,000 troops surrounded them. The Texan leadership had sent a request to General Sam Houston for reinforcements, but none were able to come.
When Colonel William Barrett Travis realized this, he made a decision in his own mind that this is where he would make his final stand. Travis did not feel right about making the others stay and fight to the death, so he made it optional. He gathered the entire group, gave a speech about their impending peril and the role they could play in giving time for the rest of the Texan army to prepare to win, then drew his sword, laid its tip on the sandy ground and dragged it several feet, leaving a line in its wake. He told the soldiers that they could leave now and no one would think any less of them, but if they chose to stay, there would be no looking back. Only one man and some of the women and children left that night. The rest stepped across the line and so sealed their fate… and their place in history.
The miniature Texan force was ultimately overwhelmed 13 days later by General Santa Anna’s juggernaut. But they delayed his progress long enough to make victory for the rest of the Texans possible shortly thereafter… in the town where I grew up. Their battle, though it appeared to be a loss, set up a victory.
I believe that any person who is going to do something significant in life faces “line in the sand” moments… those moments when they make a choice to go forward and not look back. They choose to get married… till death do us part. They choose to be parents… for the rest of their lives. They choose one major in college or one job instead of others… and lock themselves into a career path over the next forty to fifty years. They choose to follow Jesus… and eternity redirects their journey from that day forward.
The Apostle Paul had such an experience with Jesus. The road just outside Damascus was his line in the sand. Later, in his letter to his friends in the church at Philippi, Paul says that he doesn’t have everything figured out but he has done one thing… focused on forgetting the past and looking forward to the future. In other words, he has stepped across the line in the sand. He has defined what it means to follow Jesus, and he is inviting others to join him.
If you and I are going to do something of significance in this life, we will face these “line in the sand” moments. Let’s choose to step across those lines into greatness! Let’s not look back! Like Colonel William Barrett Travis and the Apostle Paul… let’s forge into the unknown with only a knowing that what may come may be challenging, but it will also be worthwhile… and we will never be forgotten for our commitment!