A man came home from work one day to find that his wife had bought a plaque to put on their wall. It read “Prayer changes things.” The man immediately tore it down and threw it in the trash. The wife was shocked and asked, “What’s the matter? Don’t you believe in prayer?” The man replied, “I believe in prayer. I don’t believe in change.”
All of us must deal with change in this ever-changing world. It is inescapable. This suggests two things to always keep in mind.
The first is that there is great truth in the adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In 700 B.C., chariot drivers had to deal with illegal parking and its consequences. Lawyers sought compensation for bodily injuries as early as 2100 B.C. and taxes roughly began in 3000 B.C. As one of the writers of the Bible said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Once I was asked why I taught out of the Bible when it’s such an old book. My answer was, and is, simple: God hasn’t changed and neither have people. There is a fundamental level at which things don’t change and therefore we don’t panic.
But there is another great truth that applies to our individual lives. Part of the definition of a living thing is that it grows, and part of the definition of growth is change.
Bob Buford is one of the pioneers of cable T.V., a philanthropist, and the author of the book “Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance.” He says that “for the second half of life to be better than the first, you must make the choice to step outside of the safety of living on autopilot. You must wrestle with who you are, why you believe what you profess to believe about your life, and what you do to provide meaning and structure to your daily activities and relationships.”
He’s right. When you enter the second half of life you’ve lived a long time. There are all sorts of things that feel right and make immediate sense because that’s the way they’ve always been done. Driving on autopilot is easy. But to truly wrestle with growth forces me to rethink what I believe and why.
When my boss or my company, my family or my church want something new and I feel uncomfortable, I need to examine the new thing and the old thing (me). Do I have legitimate concerns that are worth examining and discussing or is it simply that I’m being pushed off autopilot?
In the Bible, Paul writes two letters to the Corinthian people, a people he loves but also needs to challenge. In the second letter, he gives advice that still helps me and you. He says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” (II Corinthians 13:5)
Change is inevitable. But by God’s grace we can do two things: Stay calm. Grow.
Rick Cupp ministers at Kenai Fellowship. Sunday Bible class 10 a.m. Worship is at 11 a.m. and livestreamed onto Facebook. Check the “Rick Cupp” page with the blue church sign.