Take a trip on the London Tube, the underground rail system, and one phrase will be etched in your brain: “MIND THE GAP.” The voice kindly but firmly warns again and again as the doors of the rail cars open and close, reminding you repeatedly to “MIND THE GAP.” I’m certain it’s because the engineers know that “the gap” is where the danger lies. It’s where accidents happen, and it’s where people get hurt. It’s not a large space. At most stations, it appears to be less than a couple of inches. The gap is certainly not large enough to require a leap. It’s not a wide gulf that appears hazardous at all. It is simply a small space where movement meets non-movement, and it is very perilous indeed. The loud voice of warning drones on day after day, until it’s part of the roar of the background. You stop noticing it. The first few times you ride the train the voice almost startles you. On our trip, we were with friends, and the on first day of our sightseeing the phrase became the standing joke. We laughed and called out to each other to “mind the gap” everywhere we went. But, after a day or two, it stopped striking our interest. We were pros at riding the Tube and the voice lost its power. We knew where we were going and how to get there. We hopped on and off the train cars like locals with no real thought to that small space.
When you think about it, the space, the gap, really isn’t too big of a problem until you add the movement. I think this is the problem Amos was trying to address when he asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). In order for there to be real success among those who are working together, they have to be walking together.
My daughter reminded me of the Dr. Seuss tale of the Zax. The North-Going Zax and the South-Going Zax met in the middle and neither would relinquish his place, and they were left standing face to face in their own self-righteous position. Dr. Seuss says, “Of course the world didn’t stand still. The world grew. In a couple of years, the new highway came through and they built it right over those two stubborn Zax and left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.” I don’t believe we are in a generation who wants revival or growth to pass us by because of stubbornness. I think the goal of revival is pretty universal. No one wants to be stuck in the past. We aren’t Zax standing nose to nose paralyzed by our own obstinance. We all want to see explosive Endtime revival, and we are working hard to get there, moving forward with our hands to the plow. The goal isn’t the problem. The issue seems to be how we’re moving toward it. We’ve been walking together and working together, but we must ask: is the gap between us widening? Are we really still in agreement on the issues that matter? Do we want our children raised the same way? Do we have the same values? Are we defining the words in the same way? Have we checked lately to make sure we are still walking side by side? Are we minding the gap?
We can sit and talk, make plans and make agreements, but when things start moving… this is when we must “mind the gap.” No doubt our culture, our technology, and the political dynamics that surround our world are all moving and changing faster than we can wrap our minds around it. And… there is a gap. There’s always a gap. Remember, it’s the inevitable divide between movement and non-movement that is where people get injured, where the danger lies. We are all susceptible to deception, and the enemy would like nothing better than to lead our generation astray, to separate us from one another, and keep us moving, but not really together.
We have to ask ourselves the question, “If two are to walk together, how wide can the gap get before they are no longer together at all?” How much movement away from absolutism, away from the call to righteousness, away from holiness will polarize us from one another? The truth is that even the difference of even one degree on a compass will alter one’s destination – so in that sense the distance between us doesn’t have to be very big to cause big problems. The gap may not be a chasm, but God forbid we disregard its peril and allow ourselves to be shaken and fall away from the truths God has revealed to us (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
I fear that our generation is facing a two-fold crisis. There is a widening gap and too many have stopped worrying about it. Amos passionately reminded Israel, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? (Amos 3:6). The alarm has been sounded, but can we still hear it? Have we grown so accustomed to the warnings that they do us little good? Is it all just background noise, chatter, and murmuring? Or, is it a trumpet sounding to remind us, “MIND THE GAP!”