Pastor's Blog

The "from-now-on" change

About ten straight miles on US 67 in Arkansas in a borrowed Datsun 280Z. 120 miles per hour. I was coming back from a wedding in Little Rock. I retain no memory of the wedding. Youthful thrill morphing into awakened fear at 120 MPH: that I remember! I was foolish. I abused the trust of the friend who loaned me his car. I wanted to be fast. I wanted to be … “quick.”

“Quick” is far too important to me. Most of my life’s wounds have been self-inflicted by … “quick.” Spoke too soon. Expected too much. Waited too little. Gave up too easily.  Listened too late. I confess an ever-present restlessness, a desire to move on to the next thing. Any semi-competent therapist could peel me like a grape. A couple have … thank God!

Peter was the “Apostle of Quick.” Saint Reactive! Peter was often the first to act and with mixed results. He walked on the water, but sank. (Mt. 14) Peter answered for Jesus about loyalties (does He pay the Temple tax?), but answered clumsily. (Mt. 17). Peter’s “quick-ness” is, sadly, well known in his denials. (Mt. 26)

But Jesus knew what He was doing. “Do not be afraid; from now on,” Jesus told Peter, “you will be catching men.” (Lk. 5) From Now On is open ended. There’s no ticking clock to inject pressure. No ‘next thing’ to serve as a distraction … or an excuse.

Jesus never drove a 280Z at a 120 miles per hour or any other speed. He walked. Miles and miles. House to house. Hill to hill. His disciples walked with Him. Their best exchanges, their most bracing insights, came in the course of one day’s walk. Jesus changed their lives by letting them in to His walking journey.

Saul on the Road to Tarsus is the exception. The pace at which Jesus most often changes a life is a walking pace. A walking pace is a, “come and see” pace and a “being transformed into His likeness” pace.

Resist your need for speed this week, especially as it concerns your soul. Just walk with Jesus. Just do that.

Pastor Tim

 

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Who will I thank for today?

One of the old books, Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton, has a lot of punch. Chesterton is a man reflecting on "the search."

The search ... for what?  
Exactly.

Chesterton, well over a century ago, laid bare a kind of illusion. The search for meaning and some experiential touch of the divine is all rather off the beam. 

Meaning? 

Meaning that "meaning" and "the divine" are not hard to find. You encountered them before breakfast. You'll have to work hard to miss them before supper. They will be present. The question is, "Will you see them?"

Chesterton, working from "Robinson Crusoe," challenges our thinking. Rather than grind through life looking in grief at what has been lost, why not look in wonder at how life can thrive among the little which was saved? 

Chesterton says:

 "Crusoe is a man on a small rock with a few comforts just snatched from the sea: the best thing in the book is simply the list of things saved from the wreck.

... Every kitchen tool becomes ideal because Crusoe might have dropped it in the sea. It is a good exercise, in empty or ugly hours of the day, to look at anything, ... and think how happy one could be to have brought it out of the sinking ship on to the solitary island. But it is a better exercise still to remember how all things have had this hair-breadth escape: everything has been saved from a wreck."

This thoroughly Christian insight braces me. I am owed nothing in this world. Not the faithfulness of my wife, the kindness of strangers, the taste of good food or my next breath. 

Can I produce a receipt entitling me to gaze in wonder at a sleeping infant? The sun does not rise in answer to my personal subpoena. Yet the sun presents itself to my grateful delight every morning and often with a flourish of glory. Did I earn my unexpected laughter today? The life-changing insight?

We live in a fallen world. To carry on with Chesterton's thought, we live in a world after the shipwreck of Eden. Now, because of Christ, we have life and purpose. We are rescued and live upon solid ground. Each new day is, in fact, a NEW DAY.

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