Change; February 29, 2019

Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”

Jesus here states a fairly universal phenomenon, another expression of “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Human beings are funny that way. However, it all comes from our expectation of things continuing as they have been, however that is. When things don’t go as we expect, we get frustrated. Change is stressful. However, change is part of the definition of life itself, so we had better accept and get used to it. Over the past century the rate of change has accelerated greatly, particularly in terms of knowledge and technology, and we have a very hard time keeping up. That has led to a sharp rise in both mental illness and a dependence on distractions, either chemical or behavioral – which is another way of saying the same thing. When things around us don’t go as we expect or want them to, we try to retreat in some way. When Jesus, the home town boy, started speaking and acting in unexpected ways, those who thought they knew Him best shut Him out, and Luke records that they even tried to kill him. (Luke 4:28-30) That same reaction dogged Jesus throughout His ministry. Being a vassal state of Rome was hardly ideal, but it was what they were used to, and the prospect of changing things was upsetting, particularly to those who profited from the situation. (John 11:48) Change is a major part of the definition of repentance, so we had better be willing to accept it! It is often most difficult to accept change in people, just as people were having trouble accepting Jesus here. (Actually, He hadn’t changed, but people’s perception of Him changed.) However, the possibility of change is one of the most glorious things about being in Christ. As Paul said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We don’t have to stay as we have been, and neither does anyone else. However, for that change to be good, we have to submit to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us. That is indeed what repentance is all about.

Well! I have really opened a huge topic! I need to consider it prayerfully and allow the Holy Spirit to show me what I am to do and what and how I am to share with others. Former students seem to find it comforting that “I don’t change,” making me a point of stability for them, but I really need to keep changing, keep growing as well, because stagnation is never desirable. Also, I tend to dismiss people as “that’s just the way they are.” I need to pray for them that they too may grow and change as God desires. As I have told people for years, I am not to expect good things of people, but I am always to expect good things of God, even using people. God has not left me alone as I have been, and I’m not to abandon people either. Sometimes circumstances require physical and/or emotional distance, but I am to remember that nothing is too difficult for God, as last year’s Verse for the Year proclaimed. (Jeremiah 32:27)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Many things are going on, and the rate of change indeed makes me want to retreat at times. Help me look at people and at situations with Your eyes, trusting You to work with things as they are to change them to how they should be – and that includes changing me, too. May I not resist what You are doing in any way, but rather act as Your useful agent, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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