It’s the end of the summer. I can hardly believe it. Where did the time go?
For some of us the return to the routine of a new school year is a welcomed change. For others of us, the change will be hard.
In my house there will be a significant change as our eldest, Emily, heads off to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to begin a Masters program. It will be a fabulous experience for her but I would be lying if I didn’t admit the change will be very, very hard on me.
This, by no means, is the first time that we’ve had to make significant changes in our life, as most parents can relate there are lifestyle changes that accompany parenthood. But there have been other changes, like employment, residence, schools... I am sure you can add to the list.
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that change for the sake of change is difficult but change for the sake of others takes on a different element. Though it’s hard, we do it – knowing that ultimately it is better for the other person. And suddenly it becomes change with a purpose.
Stories of change are found throughout the scriptures – men and women called by Christ to stop what they are doing, change their entire lifestyle, and follow Him.
Do you remember the story of the adulterous woman who was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees? Check it out: John 8:1-11. Jesus says to the rowdy crowd: go ahead and condemn her. In fact, the one of you who is without sin can throw the first stone (a bit of a paraphrase, but you know what I mean). And you know the story. No one did, because no one could.
So what does this have to do with change? So many things. First, Jesus challenged the way the people thought about condemnation, forgiveness, mercy and even women. Jesus went against the social norms of the day and changed the face of history forever.
Second, as the men that made up the crowd were walking away, Jesus asked the woman if anyone had condemned her. She replied “no”. Jesus said that he didn’t condemn her either and then said … read it carefully … "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Jesus tells the woman to change her lifestyle. Pure and simple. You have been forgiven, but you must not continue doing these sinful things. You must change.
Change is hard, but when we are changing for the wellbeing of our loved ones, changing for our own health and wellbeing, changing because Jesus commands us to – we are changing for a purpose. Somehow when we change for a purpose it makes it a tiny bit easier.
As we begin this new school year, I would like to encourage you to make one change and I would like to suggest what that is. Over the next several weeks you will hear a lot of talk about small groups. So, here is the change I would encourage you to make:
- If you have never been in a small group or if you are not currently involved in a small group - I want to challenge you to sign up for one this fall.
- If you have been in a small group and decided it wasn’t for you - I want to challenge to you to try a new group.
- If you have been in a small group, or currently in a small group and love it - I want to challenge you to host a small group or lead a small group.
Make the change from sitting in rows to sitting in a circle. You will never know the blessings God has in store for you until you take that first step. You will be so glad you did!