I hate change! I wish I didn’t possess that trait. Change is constant and change is inevitable. If life is about ANYTHING, it’s about CHANGE! But there’s something in me that hates change. Is it my New England background that’s made me this way? Maybe, although I suppose that’s not the whole reason. Sociological research does indicate that native New Englanders are far more resistant to change than are other Americans. As a kid, I dreaded moving on to junior high school, and repeated that dread as I moved on to high school and college. In fact, speaking of “moving” I hate moving! Many people have commended me for staying at the church I pastor for almost twenty years. The truth is, part of the reason I’ve stayed is I just don’t want the hassle of changing pastorates and having to pack up and move into another house!
My young adult offspring don’t tend to like change, either. Sometime ago, an electrician had to replace the upstairs hallway light fixture at the circa 1890s parsonage in which we live. My daughter Rachel insisted on continuing to use the old antique glass cover (that has probably been around for seven decades) for the light fixture. It is classy and antique looking, but it’s also heavy, and awkward and a pain in the neck to manipulate when the bulb needs to be changed. On Sunday afternoon I changed the hallway light that had blown out. I felt kind of guilty, but instead of putting the heavy old glass fixture back, I put on the modern lightweight cover that came with the new fixture. I KNOW she’s going to hate that change, but, I said it above- change is inevitable.
This morning a brand new state-of-the-art photocopier is being delivered at our church office. (Like most non-profits, we LEASE that sort of equipment!) The new machine has all sorts of features I’m really going to like. But, guess what? I’m not excited about the change. I know our church’s simple, user-friendly photocopier better than I know some of my friends! I could use that copier blindfolded. I’ve used it just about every day for the last three years. I don’t want to have to adjust to a new machine! I got a new cell phone a few weeks ago. My wife had been bugging me because my old cell phone seemed practically ready to be placed on display in some Museum of Communication! I do like my new cell phone, but getting it was actually PAINFUL for me!
I’m an “evangelical”. For the uninitiated, that means a person who believes one must PERSONALLY and DEFINITIVELY make a profession of faith in Christ in order to get to Heaven. In various churches it’s described as “being born again”, “getting saved”, “committing your life to Christ”, or other such similar phrases. Last Sunday, I preached a sermon from Acts chapter ten entitled , “Good People Need God”. I’ve found that the hardest people to “witness” to (that is to encourage to become born-again Christians) are religious people.
“I have my religion,” is frequently their response.
Ironically, in talking with such folks, I finf that I often know more about their religions than they do!
The areas of the country which have the LOWEST percentages of “born again Christians” are Utah and New England. (Massachusetts USED to have the very lowest, but that’s no longer true. Connecticut now has the lowest percentage of evangelicals.) Evangelicals are all about getting people to CHANGE THEIR WAY OF THINKING when it comes to God, the Bible, salvation, and stuff like that. In fact, Bob Dylan who is Jewish by birth and a fellow born-again Christian sings a song entitled, “Gonna Change My Way of Thinking”. Could our New England resistance to change in general get in the way of our relationships with God? Probably!
Well, I’m just thinking out loud, and in a couple of hours I’m going to be learning how to use our new photocopier!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
(Do you like change? Do you hate change? Did you enjoy this piece? Did you dislike this piece? I’d love to hear from you. Please POST something and/or e-mail me at RevRBaril@aol.com )
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