lørdag 4. mars 2017

Breaking up - and a broken shoelace

When I yesterday asked the question “Ready for departure?”, I had many thoughts related to the process of being ready to break up at any time, and I will share some of these today.

The disciples of Jesus have always seen themselves as pilgrims. The identity of the first disciples was linked to the confession to belong to "The Way" (1) which clearly sends a signal of being underway and on the move. We are in the season of Lent and the intention of fasting is to break away from habits to be able to concentrate on the core of the gospel. It is not unlikely that I will spend the latter part of Lent to reflect more on the topic of fasting.

Paul was used to breaking up. Some of the departures were very emotional and bore testimonies of love and care, like when he bade farewell to the elders of Ephesus (2). Others came as a result of Paul and his companions being chased, which made them shake the dust off their feet as a warning to the pursuers (3).

Moreover, Paul was also ready to put all plans aside and break up when he realized that it was the Holy Spirit charging him to do so. It happened when he was called to Macedonia (4). Therefore, his testimony from yesterday is fitting well as a label on his whole life as a follower of Jesus: “I am ready to break up!” (5)

Breaking up is not just about moving geographically. It can be as simple as breaking away from what I am doing right now to make a phone call or write an email to a person whom the Spirit puts on my mind. I think these small daily ‘break away’ reminders are very important acts of obedience.

Here is a short story I read in a mission magazine when I was a young disciple. It made a strong impression on me. A missionary in Africa was a bit in despair by the fact that his shoelace broke one morning. He did not know where to obtain a new shoelace and sighed to God. The same day a letter arrived from a friend in England. The letter was written three months earlier, and the envelope also contained a shoe lace. The friend had written: “It sounds strange, but the Lord asks me to enclose a shoelace”.

It would not have been the end of the world if the missionary had not received his shoelace, but I think that the experience of "God is seeing me and has control", must have been a strength in his ministry. May God bless the people who break away from writing a letter to enclose a shoelace when the Lord prompts them. It is an example of how God's kingdom works.

‘Manna’ for today:

Breaking up is part of the following of Jesus
(1) It was the name Saul used to identify the disciples of Jesus before he came to faith - cf. Acts 9: 1-2
(2) Acts 20:36 to 21:1
(3) Acts 13:50-52
(4) Acts 16:6-10
(5) 2 Tim 4:6

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