Thursday, November 4, 2010

Change is Good?

"Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." -Romans 12:10-11 NIV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? -James 2:14-16 ESV

Fall has finally come to our little Southern hamlet. The Halloween candy has been eaten, the air is crisp, and the leaves are falling with the temperature. But other than this welcome change of seasons, I'll be honest, I do not like change. I'm a big fan of routines, traditions, and predictable outcomes. (Not exactly church planter material, I know) Maybe you know somebody who relishes change, who is at their best when change is the only constant. I do. I married that guy. He actually gets uncomfortable when things stay the same!

2008 was a year of tremendous change for our family. When Thanksgiving arrived, Crossroads was just nine months old, growing by leaps and bounds, and requiring our undivided attention. My parents were visiting from Colorado for the holiday, and several long time friends also joined us for the feast. I remember thinking it was strange that my husband seemed so unsettled, so distracted. He was enjoying my parents' visit, and time off with the family, but he just seemed really detached from the festivities. Finally, he shared what was bothering him. "Everything about our life this year is focused on others", he said. "And the way we're celebrating Thanksgiving just seems selfish and small." And then, he said it. "Next Thanksgiving, I don't want to be sitting here, around our dining room table with china and crystal and candles. I want to be feeding people!" I want to be doing something that matters!" And I did what I always do when he says something that challenges me: I looked at him like he had three heads.

I told him I loved our family celebration. I said I felt like our whole lives were already devoted to others, we had made huge sacrifices, and why on earth should it matter to God or to anyone else if we had the holiday to ourselves? Surely there are enough soup kitchens to feed the hungry? The argument didn't last, so I figured I won, and that he would forget all this foolishness by next year. Ehh... not so much. In the months that followed, God would change my heart, and break my heart for something that breaks His: people in need. On Thanksgiving Day 2009, our family joined an army of Crossroads volunteers who gave their Thanksgiving Day to feed over 700 people who wouldn't otherwise have had a hot meal, or people to share it with. I will never, ever be the same. Fancy dishes in the dining room pale in comparison to what God did that day through willing hearts and hands.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not condemning family celebrations at home. Far from it. But I am saying that if God prompts you to be part of something bigger than you, do it! Don't miss what He wants to do in you and through you. And if you're looking for someplace to serve, we'll be under the big tent in the parking lot of the College Cinema.

If you're interested, here's a link to the video from last year:

If you can't click the video link, just copy and paste in your browser.

Prayer for Today: Father, help me not to elevate my traditions over Your direction. I pray for the courage to do the things You prompt me to do. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Leasa said...

Great post! Btw so glad you are back to writing here. I missed it.

Leslie Oden said...

Thanks, Leasa! It's good to be back! :0)