Monday, June 21, 2010
How would you like your change?
I love to have fun. I love to be with people that I love. So far, June has been great to me in both regards.
For the first nine days of the month, I was off traveling the country . . . or at least a small portion of it. I came home for four days, working at the all-exciting lumberyard for three of them; and then again packed up and headed east to Minneapolis. In contrast to my previous week's stay in Minneapolis totaling less than 24 hours, this week I was in the Cities for nearly four whole days! It was wonderful. The Annual Conference has the unique ability to draw people in from all across the country: Pennsylvania, Arizona, North Dakota!, Northern Minnesota . . . What a sweet, wonderful time of fellowship the Annual Conference allowed.
As I was relishing in the fact that I had so many close friends in such close proximity, as I was rejoicing in the encouragement I had received from some blessed people, I couldn't help but wish that it didn't all have to end. Why couldn't we all just stay there? Why did Ed and Mary have to go back to Reading? Why did Jordan and I have to head home to Beulah? Why couldn't Emily, Tim, Jeremy, and Lindsey just come with us? Ugh. Growing up - change - is hard.
I had similar thoughts to this when I graduated from AFLBS and the group of friends I hung out with, including my older brother, all seemed to disperse to different parts of the country (and world!). Florida, Iraq, California, South Dakota, North Dakota, Northern Minnesota . . . Again, ugh. Growing up - change - is hard.
During such struggles, I am reminded of a phrase hanging on one of those yearbook posters in Heritage Hall at AFLBS: "Coming to learn, leaving to serve". When Jesus commissioned His disciples, He didn't allow them to stay comfortably in one place, all twelve of them serving the Lord together. Instead, He told them to "'Go therefore and make disciples of ALL nations'" (Matthew 28:19, emphasis added). Before His ascension, He said to them, "'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth'" (Acts 1:8, emphasis added). As you read through the beginnings of the early church in the book of Acts, you'll find that the disciples spread out to share the Gospel.
Ugh. It's true. Growing up, change, leaving all that is normal and comfortable to us, is not an easy process. But thankfully, as we disperse from these "home bases" of friends, family and comfort, we are not alone. When Jesus commissioned His disciples, He promised to be with them, and He is with us as well: "'I am with you always, even to the end of the age'" (Matthew 28:20), "So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed" (Mark 16:19-20).
It may be difficult to do, but may we draw on the strength of the Lord to faithfully do His will and share the Good News that He has given to us!