Which is easier to turn – a row boat?
Or an ocean liner?
Years ago, I heard a staff worker of a large suburban church with several thousand members mention that the leadership had decided they needed to start working with the poor. Really? After 30 years of not engaging with the poor, it might be possible but it’s not going to be easy.
I’ve been thinking about the core values of our new church plant in west London. Who knows if we’ll ever be an ocean liner, but it’s a whole lot easier to set the direction now when we’re just a little row boat. (Actually, I’m still dreaming of a row boat)
In whatever you are starting, take the time to think through your direction now.
Turning a row boat is easy. Turning an ocean liner? Not quite.
Heard it first on the radio and then saw the headlines online:
“Ferdinand to get police escort” – Daily Mail “Anton’s Cop Escorts” – The Sun
and even this one:
“Police investigate death threat against Anton Ferdinand” – The Guardian
I immediately thought of this photo from Norman Rockwell depicting a little girl being escorted into a New Orleans school in the 1960’s:
No matter what your thoughts are on John Terry, racism is still alive around our world.
Patience is a word I don’t like.
I want things to happen – now. I want people to get behind my ideas – now. I want God to work in the lives of my friends – now.
But life is not like that. God is not like that.
Recently, I was twice reminded of my desire for relationships to work on my timetable. A few years back I met a young man who grew up in Acton and actually became a Christian while at Twyford. After reconnecting with him on Twitter, I suggested we get together for coffee. “Yea – that would be great he responded! But I’m busy right now, how about next month?”
I’ve also become friends with a young couple who live in Shepherd’s Bush as we both volunteer with a local homeless project. After talking with Josephine, I invited them over for dinner. Again – “Great but we’re busy now, how about next month?”
Twice in one week, I was put on hold. Go away for a month. A month! Don’t these people know that I have an agenda! Yes, I have an agenda but God has an agenda as well.
And His agenda and his timetable as not always the same as mine.
Patience – a word I’m slowly learning to embrace.
I have a little sister who is 6 years younger then me. When we were young, my sister had a friend named Keekee. Now Keekee was a great friend. She always wanted to play. She never argue or fought with my sister, Caren. They really had a great time together for hours playing in Caren’s room.
There was one problem – nobody else in my family every got to meet Keekee – we always heard about her but we never met her.
Why? Because Keekee was my sister’s “make believe” friend. She was just a product of her imagination. And because she wasn’t real – she was the perfect friend. My sister was not going to make up a friend in her mind who argues with her. Who tells her she’s not playing the game right. Who treats her toys badly. Of course not.
When it comes to God, we sometimes like to play make believe. But it doesn’t work the same way as with Keekee. God is God. Doesn’t really matter what kind of ideas we have about him – He’s still the same.
Sometimes our ideas of God don’t fit God as revealed in the Bible. When that happens, we have two choices. Continue with our “make believe” God who never crosses us and “plays” with us exactly as we want Him to.
Or humbly submit.
Let’s be careful how we think about God. It’s time to stop playing “make believe”.
(This is part of my sermon based on the 2nd of the 10 commandments; Exodus 2:4-6)