Finding Faithfulness on a Hike PHOTO

A couple weeks ago, Josh Ketchum and his family returned to hike in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They were delighted to find that a coin he had handed to a park ranger working on a bridge in February 2018 had been placed on the bridge as promised. The simple but long lasting gesture made him consider “faithfulness and impact.”

In February of 2018, Amanda and I hiked Abrams Falls trail in the Cade’s Cove region of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is a beautiful five mile round trip hike which is highlighted by Abrams Falls; a 20 foot waterfall with high water volume. The hike involves going up and over three ridges or hills of the mountain to get to the falls. It is a popular hike with tourists. In February, it wasn’t too busy and some park rangers were doing maintenance on the hike replacing wood bridges. We stopped and visited with them for a few minutes as they were eating their lunch. One of the men asked me for a quarter, which he promised to insert in the hand rail of the bridge they were building.

We returned to Abrams Falls trail this past week; this time with our four children. I told them the story of the coin and we were interested to see if we could find the coin. Our kids love hiking and are at good ages to be able to navigate a trail like this safely and quickly. Sure enough, we got to the bridge and it was there! We found the coin which was exactly where he said he would put it! The coin is tucked under the handrail on the center post of the second bridge on the trail. You need to find it too when you hike it! It appeared that, while not real obvious, many had noticed it through the years as it was worn from being rubbed.

This was a cool experience for our family. But it also made me consider faithfulness and its impact. The ranger was faithful to his word. This simple act continues to be present each day. Only a few people know the story behind the quarter, but the act is still embedded there everyday. Similarly our daily acts of faithfulness and being people of integrity and honesty are generally not known or seen by large numbers. But faithfulness isn’t about a show for many to see, it is about showing up when no one is looking over and over again!

Our Lord said it well, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones, But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10). Let’s be people who are faithful in word and deed. You never know who will be seeing your faithfulness, though they don’t know the whole story behind it!

Josh Ketchum preaches at Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield.

Josh Ketchum preaches at Seven Oaks Church of Christ in Mayfield.