hey hey woody guthrie, I wrote you this post

One of the songs that I really love is, “Song to Woody” by Bob Dylan. He writes the song for his hero and mentor Woody Guthrie. If you’re a fan of Dylan or Guthrie then you know the song, it’s actually one of the first that Dylan wrote.

The song is special to me because of the context in which it is written. Dylan is telling his friend about how different the world is. Guthrie and Dylan were more of prophets and less of songwriters. And by prophet I don’t mean they can tell the future, they reminded generations of their moral obligations. They were against the exploitation of people, they hated violence and war, and they simply were for people. As Guthrie is experiencing his final days, Dylan gave Woody Guthrie the best farewell imaginable.

What I like most about this song is the love. You can hear the love that Dylan has for his mentor. You can hear gratefulness in Dylan’s voice. Think about the people who have paved the path that you are walking on. Who were they? Are you grateful for the work and sacrifice? Are you paving a new path or just copying the old?

Dylan covered a few Guthrie songs, but he also wrote his own, hundreds of them. It’s good to give tribute to those who have gone before, but don’t copy, be inspired to lead. Pave a new path for another generation to re-direct and re-pave.

I regularly meet with people far more talented than me with twice the experience. I want to be a better pastor, communicator and writer, and there are some people who have figured a lot of this stuff out, so I submit myself to them. How do you learn and grow? Do you have to be the smartest person in the room? Will you allow yourself to be taught? Once you come to the realization that someone else paved the path you are walking down, how will you decorate it? Where will you build on it? Who is walking down the path that you’ve paved?

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