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Mark 147 - To Change or Not to Change



Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.


Mark 10:1[1]


People seem to be divided into two camps: those who want to stay in the same place, have things stay the same, be consistent. And then there are those who want to move from place to place, have things changing, be inconsistent.


The consistent people are happiest when things stay the same, or at least only change at a slow and predictable pace. Sheldon Coopers character on the Big Bang Theory is one who does not like change. All throughout the series, he bitterly complains when things do not remain the same. In one episode he not only grumbles when he wins the Nobel Prize, but he storms out of the room when his wife changes her hairstyle[2].


On the other hand, the inconsistent people are a different kettle of fish altogether. They want change, they need change, they thrive on change. It energizes them, motivates them. They are Tom Cruse in Top Gun when Kelly McGillis describes him; “you’re not gonna to being happy unless you’re going Mach 2 with your hair on fire[3].”


These inconsistent people, for better or worse, are the people that change the world. No one changed much of anything by staying at home, doing the same thing over and over. To change the world, you have to get out into the world.


Now, I don’t think of myself as someone who’s changing the world, but moving from place to place certainly has shaped my life, and that of my family. Most of our moves were less about choice, looking for a better place, than having jobs eliminated and looking for work.


Or were they?


As I look back on my life, I see God using these moves in a significant way to change me. They were less than exciting adventures than hard disciplinary actions by a loving heavenly Father who needed to get my attention. For some people, God whispers and they immediately jump into humble obedience, willing to go and do whatever God says. For people like me, it takes a hot frying pan upside the head to get my attention.


In my head, I don’t want to be like that, needing God to take a Babe Ruth swing at me to get my attention. But I’m stubborn. I don’t want anyone else calling the shots. I want to be in control. I want to make the decisions. I want the power to live like I want. After all, only I really know what’s best for me.


Or do I?


Jesus moved from place to place so that he could meet people where they were. He didn’t make them come to him; he went out to them. He didn’t sit in some ivory tower or temple, having people travel to him. He went out to be near the people he loved. The people that he came for. The people that he was going to sacrifice himself for.


This is the heart of God. He could have said, “Let’s just keep things the same. People have rebelled against me, turned their backs on me. Fine. Let them stay far away from me. Let them continue being separated from me and let them just go to hell.”


But that’s not God’s heart. He made the change. Since we can’t get to heaven on our own, he came down to earth in Jesus. Fully God and fully man. He lived a life that exhibited the heart of God in his words, actions, and miracles.


But he changed things even more. He gave himself up, dying for us to repair and restore our relationship with him. He changed things by paying the price that we could not pay. And then there was the change that topped off everything, he rose from the dead. His body came back to life, proving once and for all that he was truly God.


For all our complaining about change, whether you’re a change or consistent person, we need this kind of change. A change in our relationship with God. A change in our relationship with each other. A change in the way we look at the past, the present, the future.


We need the kind of change that only Jesus can bring. We need his changing payment for our rebellion and sin. We need his changing power of the resurrection, giving us the desire and power to choose to love God and people.


We need the ultimate change agent, Jesus.

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. [2] https://youtu.be/wyKn03tIDXo [3] https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/db1871a6-27f6-4af0-a8f1-ec61c56c211d

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