Iron Rails

They’ve been workin’ on the railroad around these parts of town. One day a fascinating bit of machinery, with the help of a railroad crew, started uprooting railroad tracks and crossties through the neighborhood. The iron spikes were pulled up, sections of the tracks were hoisted onto a flatbed, and the wooden ties were either left or tossed into piles, to be dealt with later. Miles of tracks are disappearing from behind old warehouses, factories, industrial sites and even homes. The crossing signs and the tracks in the roadways will be removed later. Not only is the empty railroad right-of-way an overgrown yet vacant sight to behold, but now there are dead-end streets that can be opened up, and homes with potentially more property to be added to the deeds.

These industrial railroad tracks are called “spur lines.” They branched off the main lines so freight trains could deliver the raw materials to the factory assembly lines or storage facilities. Times changed. Some companies moved away or closed down. Other companies have taken their places, but trucks were adequate for their supply needs. These spur tracks have been unused for some years. Someone recognized that the old manufacturing companies were not returning and that miles of valuable iron lay useless on the ground. It was time to repurpose the rails.

My father started his railroad career as a switchman on such spur lines. Today many of the freight trains that move up and down the newer spur lines are operated, not by engineers or switchmen, but by computers and big game-like consoles back at the railroad yards. Once, the railroads ruled the freight and personal transportation needs of America. And many other familiar institutions ruled their segments of the world—like steel mills, newspapers and even churches. God told a young Jeremiah that his assignment would be “to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10). There are iron rails in our lives that need to be uprooted so we can build and plant again.

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Repurpose the rails. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Filed under Christian Life, Church life, Theology, Uncategorized

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