Standing on the railway tracks and as far as the eye can see, are these wires that are held up by evenly spaced poles, following every curve and bend of the track. Although mostly obsolete these days, these once ran vital communications between railroad stations, signals and switching stations. But what would happen if one of the telegraph poles were to fall over or the wire was to snap. How would the drivers have known what was going on ahead of them? Would they have known that the signals they were seeing might have been wrong? These communication lines were the lifeline that the train drivers relied upon to know exactly what was happening beyond their line of sight.
Looking at these poles got me thinking a little more and a little deeper. As a Christian, I believe in a Creator God because someone told me about Him. My parents took me to church, I was told many stories about Jesus, I was given a Bible to read for myself. But what if I had parents that didn't take me to church or I never heard of a person called Jesus. Would I have ever wanted to start reading the Bible ‘just because’? It's a difficult question to answer.
These poles are like the people that found out the good news about Jesus and then went and told someone, who then told someone else... and if I had the ability to know the chain of people that were involved in passing on the message to me, I am sure it would lead back to someone who stood in the presence of Jesus, hearing the words that He himself spoke. But that’s when it hit me. Who am I passing this message to? Am I a fallen over pole where the message stops and those around me miss out on the vital message that they are so in need of hearing? Or am I allowing noise to corrupt the signal, changing the message? The continuation of the story of Jesus and the impact it has on one’s life relies on us passing on the message: unchanged and unaltered.
There is another lesson we can learn from this illustration. Telegraph poles hosted a large number of communication lines that would all carry different streams of information. With all the messages this world sends out, it is easy to say that “it’s just too hard” or “I'll never be heard over all the noise of the other lines”. But passing the message about Jesus to our kids, family, friends and people we know needs to be continued and nurtured, so that the line stays strong and the message of Jesus reaches the furthest points.
Creating strong bonds with people allows them to see, hear, touch and experience the message that has impacted your life. And through these bonds we are called to minister to people directly. Wide spread sowing is important, but it is the close relationships that help the plant to grow into a strong, well rooted tree that is ready to bear fruit, which will plant the next seed, which then grows and plants the next seed...
In my eyes, the humble telegraph poles illustrate an important reminder that each one of us has a role to play in spreading the message of Jesus. People are waiting to get connected up to the Source.