Project #92355 - Devotional

Write 300 words reflections

 

 

Week Four Musings (Devotional)

 

In the book Deep Change, Robert E. Quinn tells the story of one of his friends, Michael Jibson, who takes his family to the San Francisco Zoo.

 

Soon after arriving at the zoo, the family walked into a playground area. Michael's smallest son dearly loved playgrounds, particularly the swings. The boy quickly raced over, jumped into a swing, and began pumping himself skyward.

After a short time, the other children were ready to move on. The youngest, however, was still happily swinging. The siblings tried to persuade him to leave but were unsuccessful. The boy's mother tried a more caring approach, but she, too, failed miserably. The other children then began to complain loudly. A drama was emerging, and strangers were stopping to watch. Michael's wife looked at him, her unspoken message clear: "You are the father of this child Do something!"

Michael, having been to the zoo before, knew that around the corner was a carousel. He also knew that the boy loved carousals even more than he loved the swings. So Michael explained that there was a carousel around the corner and that the youngster would be even happier there.

Nearly any experienced parent can predict what happened next. The boy was unmoved by the fatherly logic. Michael's frustration peaked, and persuasion turned to threat. Finally, the boy was dragged, kicking and squealing, from the swing and continued to protest until the family arrived at the carousel. Suddenly his eyes grew large with excitement. His tears disappeared as he mounted a wooden horse and smiled and waved to his parents.

We can reflect on this story from at least three perspectives. First, we can take the uninvolved perspective of the passing stranger. We can shake our heads in judgment of the parents who failed to perform their roles without resorting to force. The perspective is that of the distant, analytical observer, of the uninvolved judge, of the Monday morning quarterback. In our own lives, we slip into this perspective easily and often.

Second, we could take the perspective of the two loving but frustrated parents who were struggling to make an intervention in a real situation. The perspective of the responsible actor, trying to make change in the world, is a challenge for the ages. At the conceptual and emotional levels, we often aspire to it. From the perspective of observed actor, we often consciously or unconsciously flee from it. Here we often, like the parents in the story, experience frustration and failure.

Finally, there is the perspective of the self-centered little boy holding tightly to his swing.

Our first temptation is to argue that for mature adults such as ourselves, that is too big a stretch and hardly worth consideration. This is, of course, a rationalization to protect us from considering the most painful perspective of all: one of the last things we want to consider is our own selfishness and immaturity. We resist reflecting on our own fear of change. Yet the truth is that we are exactly like the immature and selfish boy who refuses to leave the swing.

 

Though this story takes a bit of space to share in this devotional, I believe it has an impacting message to us in the church and the ministry. The temptation for us at times is to clutch the experience of the swings with all our strength, not realizing that God has so much more for us around the corner. In order for the new and God-blessed experiences to occur, we have to let go of that which is comfortable and tends to keep us from growing.

 

The Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Ephesus with these words, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." The message? If you are going to experience the new self, you must discard the old self. If you are going to be like Christ, you must no longer act out of the corruption of sin. I am convinced that

 

Paul was sharing this because the Ephesians needed to mature and become "like Christ." But there is the crystal truth that you cannot embrace the new while clinging to the old.

 

Another basic nugget in this story is that everyone has his or her own idea of what was happening. The passing stranger had a different idea from the frustrated parents, and their stories did not compare to the story the little boy was living. So this week, in our work together, we may discover that some people in our lives, families, and ministries respond differently than we do. In fact, they handle things differently. We are all so different, and we all have different perspectives.

 

God in His wisdom and grace allows for differences in our personalities, learning styles, leading styles, and perspectives. But we are His body, and each one of us is a part of that great "body." Paul wrote to the Corinthians (I Corinthians 12:18-21), "But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don’t need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don’t need you!"

 

So, we are all different. We work differently, worship differently, think differently, and lead differently. And that is okay. It is God’s world, God’s Church, and God’s plan. To be leaders also means giving people space to be that person God create

 

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Due By (Pacific Time) 11/09/2015 08:00 pm
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