L. Thomas Holdcroft said these words to describe the simple idea that all of us can embalm our history to the point where we ignore the present. What came before is important in that those were the moments we were formed, stretched, and received the seminal seeds of future growth. These things our past furnished for us are vital as a guide post, but never a hitching post.
Guide posts were used as signs for road directions. They symbolize the guidelines we all need to map our future.
On the other hand, a hitching post was a post or rail to which an animal, especially a horse, was hitched. It was used to tie the reins of horses to keep them from straying.
In a grave sense, the truth should be a hitching post. The hitching posts are the eternal non-negotiable truths like the cross, holiness, or repentance. These are things that every generation must embrace regardless of their penchant.
We get into trouble when instead of the truth being our hitching post,we make past methods and traditions our hitching post.
Consider that the way the church did things in the 1950’s can never serve today’s media-driven generation. In the 1950’s, the only option to spread the gospel was to hear a sermon live or by radio. Media, however, is the way today’s young generation assimilates truth. They will get it through a pod cast, or You Tube on their phone. To impose a 1950’s method on them would only hobble them and in the end, drive them away.
Although we need our “horses” reined in, our unscriptural practices, unbalanced theologies, and questionable methods, a horse that lives tied to the rail will eventually die. When we live our lives hitched to the past, we stop growing, and become calcified in what was. This is why God told Moses,
“ The Lord our God said to us in Horeb,
‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain”.
It was time for a change and Israel could not move forward if they remained camped out on the mountain where they encountered God.
And this is our temptation, to set up camp around our experiences, traditions, and revelations, remaining there until we become gaunt in our spirits. We even defend our camp, judging others who have moved on into their new history. This is how the Pharisees perceived this new revolutionary called Jesus. He was someone who was un-hitching all the horses from the post and setting them free.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore,
and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
We were created to be hitched to eternal truths, but never to the past. May God teach us to the run free like the horse with the past being the guide post and eternal truths, the hitching post.