By Brian Waple
A number of years ago, I read a small book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” It dealt with how we handle and adjust to change. By its very nature, change can be scary, especially if we’re comfortable with how things have been. But, change allows us to see what can be and in some cases, what needs to be.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus preached change. Change in how we view and worship God; change in our relationships with those around us; and change in how we see ourselves. His birth, life, death and resurrection and what that meant was a complete change from what the Jews had been taught to believe for years.
In one of his earliest and probably most extensive teachings to the Jewish followers, Jesus introduced ideas that completely changed how people thought. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3); “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5); “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…” (Matt. 5:11-12); “You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matt. 5:43-44). Later, when faced with questions about the legality of healing on the Sabbath, Jesus changed the rules again: “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (Matt. 12:11-12)
Just prior to his final days, Jesus introduced a change to the understanding of the Jewish law when asked about the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:37-40).
Finally, as he was breathing his last, Jesus changed how we deal with persecution. In spite of being falsely accused, unjustly tried, publicly humiliated, beaten, flogged, and forced to suffer the most inhuman horror imaginable on the cross, Jesus had this to say about his persecutors: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Jesus changed the landscape forever … we had been living under a covenant of law; now we are living within a covenant of grace.
Change can be scary. Often, it can be uncomfortable. But it has also been a part of what’s defined the church from the beginning. During the next few months, our church will be undergoing some changes. Your leadership is confident that the changes are for the good of the body. This is an exciting time for Elim and if you have any questions about the changes that are happening, please talk with Martin, Brian or one of the Elders.