Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Moving! Moving! Moving!

I am sure you have noticed that I have not done a blog for a while. The reason is because we have been in the midst of a move. I did not have access to the internet for a while. My, my, how did I ever survive? We did move from an up-stairs apartment to a single floor dwelling. It is brand new, much nicer than the old one, is better arranged, and we are already liking it much more.

By The Way, the last two moves we have made has required a lot of downsizing. We had to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. It is not always an easy decision. Some things may not have practical value, but have sentimental worth. It occurred to me that we can leave certain things behind, and when we move to our final heavenly home we will leave everything behind. But who we are we take with us. Our personality, our attitudes, our values, and any internal baggage we might have developed all comes with us. If we have a spiritual or personal problem we do not leave it behind like some old suit, a pair of shoes, or some of our books.

A lot of folks seem to think that they can move away from their problems. If they just move to a new location they will find peace or happiness. Not true! Several years ago while we were doing church planting work in northern Illinois we got acquainted with a family who had grown up in intercity Chicago. They had climbed out of financial poverty and had built a home in a suburban area where we were attempting to start a church. I spent a lot of time building a relationship with the gentleman. I shared Christ with him as best I could.

One day he confided in me that the suburban life was not all he thought it would be. He told me that he had thought if he could just leave the city and move to the suburbs it would bring him peace and satisfaction. But he said that he still had not found peace. It seemed to him that folks in the suburbs were always in competition to make their houses or their lawns look a little better than their neighbors. It was a never ending cycle of one-up-man-ship.
He excitedly shared with me one day that he had found the way to peace and happiness. I was anxious to hear what he had discovered. Well, he had found a place in Arkansas that really appealed to him. He said it was in a beautiful location, plenty of trees, lots of room for pets, a quite stream that flowed a short ways from the back yard. There would be plenty of space between him and the nearest neighbor. “Yes, he said, “I know if I can move down there I will find the peace and satisfaction I have been looking for.” I said, “John, I hate to burst your bubble, but I have just come from that place you are talking about, and it is all the things you say, but it will not bring you peace and satisfaction.” “Why not,” he inquired. “Because, I said, “the things that are robbing you of peace and happiness are things you cannot leave behind. You are going to take your problems with you. Changing locations is not the answer. The answer is allowing Christ to move into your life and bring His peace and joy.” I could not convince him otherwise. Our ministry took us elsewhere before I knew If John had allowed Jesus to Change his life. I only know that for John and for millions more like him, moving is not the answer to the longing they feel in their hearts. Peace, joy, and satisfaction come from knowing Christ in a personal way.

Paul has a word for us from the Word of God concerning this matter. Philippians 4: 10-14 “I'm glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you're again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am…”(The Message)

May you know the peace, joy, and satisfaction of Christ wherever you are.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Some good words of wisdom and reminder for us as we move back to the "woods" of Arkansas. It's beautiful that we can, without really having a lot of packing problems, be able to take the "peace and contentment" Paul speaks of, with us, into the new arenas of His will.

Thanks, Bro.
See you soon.