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Topic: Learning for Life (08/23/04)
TITLE: Change for Change Sake
By Gary Sims
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There was Samantha whose weekend job had been keeping her from attending church services. At first it didn't bother her much but as time passed, however, she came to feel completely isolated from any Christian friends. Gradually she had begun to doubt her faith and beliefs. She had turned to this class almost as a last resort because not only had she been losing her Christian identity but she was also about to lose her marriage. Her husband Pete had agreed to join with her but had not yet made it to a single meeting. Samantha, with tears pouring down her face, said that she prayed that this group would somehow help her keep the spiraling changes in her life from reaching their ultimate destiny.
Craig, on the other hand, had joined the group to escape his marriage. He was looking for a respite from the nightly arguments that always occurred following his wife's third or fourth drink of the evening. He felt stuck in a marriage that was going no where. He actively was seeking some concrete change in his life in order to find hope in an otherwise dismal future.
All the other stories had generally fallen into these two main categories. The twelve that had gone before me were either seeking change in their lives or were desperate to avoid the change that seemed to be spiraling out of their control.
My story didn't fit either of these categories. My life at home, work, and church had been rich and fulfilling. It seemed that everything I touched blossomed. Everything was going well except there seemed to be something missing. I could not quite pinpoint the enigma that avoided me but I had a growing sense that something very important in my life was not as it should be. When I read about a study group in the church newsletter entitled: Christ and Living with Change, a sudden urge to join came over me. My wife didn't understand why I wanted to join another group and spend, yet another night each week at church. I asked for her patience and promised her that if I didn't gain a clear idea of what I needed within a couple of weeks I would drop the group.
Now it was my turn to speak. "I think I am here because God wants me to be here, but I am not certain why." I cleared my throat and closed my eyes briefly as I breathed a quick prayer for strength and guidance. "I have always been active in church, working on every committee and project I have been asked to join. I have taught Sunday School for ten years, I tithe, and I attend worship services every Sunday. I have a loving wife and family and a great job. Everything is perfect."
I took another breath and looked around the room at each of the eyes looking back at me. They were all respectively quiet. "I think I am here because God knows that I haven't given Him everything I can give."
The silence in the room stole the air from my lungs as I struggled to sort out the jumble of thoughts and turmoil of emotions within. "Lately I have been struggling with Jesus' teaching about setting our selves aside in order to follow Him. He even said that if we are unable to do this we will never become one of His disciples. Just as each of you is struggling with change in your lives, I too, am laboring with a problem of change - a change that has never happened. I am a Christian that has never experienced Jesus' transforming love. I am here to find out what I need to set aside so that I truly can become Christ-like in everything I do. I seek change with my whole heart."
The room remained silent but I could tell that we, as a group, had found a resonant chord that struck true to all our hearts. We would seek Christ's transforming love together.
Inspired by Luke 14:25-33