Recently I was reminiscing about our early days as believers, in the mid-eighties, when we were so freshly excited about the amazing transformations God was working in our lives and the thrill of attending some dynamic charismatic meetings. I must admit we were also more than a bit frustrated that some of those attending the local village church didn’t seem to want to get out of their traditional ways and embrace these inspiring new revelations. To us they seemed stuck in a very deep rut, and we just couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to find out more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and everything that He was doing to reinvigorate the church. We’d only started to really read and study the Bible for three years, but it seemed so clear from scripture that this was of God. God was pouring out His Spirit in a mighty way.
One day, when I was on a social visit with the minister and his wife, I frustratedly blurted out, “Why isn’t the church moving forward more quickly into all that God wants for us? What’s stopping it happening now? What’s the blockage?” Looking back, I think, in my immature over-enthusiasm, I may well have been implying it was down to him, that he was dragging his feet and resisting any change. Now the minister was a very wise and patient man, and always open to God’s leading. He was not averse to change at all, but he obviously recognised my impatience. He smiled at me and said, “Denise, it’s like this …
In the days when travel was by coach and horses, it was essential to have strong, enthusiastic horses that were wanting to gallop forward, or there would be no possibility of going anywhere. But, at the same time, there were people sitting in the coach who wanted to get from A to B, but they wanted to achieve that in a more sedate fashion. Now if the horses had gone full speed ahead, if they had had their freedom to gallop, then many of the passengers would have fallen out of the coach during the journey. The only way for everyone to arrive safely at their destination was for the driver to hold back the horses a little, and to keep all the wheels of the coach on the road, so that the horses pulled forward at a rate which meant everyone made good progress together.”
I have never forgotten his wise words and when I think about how we can progress in unity in our Christian-family life together, I remember those necessary elements of travel. There will always be some who want to move more quickly into exciting new areas of ministry, different ways of doing things, or new formats, and others who find change difficult and who want to stay ‘seated’ where they are. But moving forward together is achieved when the leaders and key movers and shakers, show compassion, love and tenderness. These three attributes are the ‘driver’ that holds back the ‘horses’ of enthusiasm and carries the more challenged ‘passengers’ along with patience, kindness and courtesy. Change happens, leaders come and go, situations demand new ways of communicating, styles need updating, and methods need to be revised, but with God’s help we can all arrive where God is taking us, in unity.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You never change, and Your truth never changes. However, in our world there is constant change, as we seek to serve you in a relevant way in the 21st century. Help us to be gracious when we are frustrated that something needs to change, but we feel it isn’t happening fast enough. Help us to be kind and patient with those who find change difficult, and, when we feel challenged by change ourselves, help us, Lord, to trust that, with Your help, we can stay united on the journey. Amen.
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.