Fresh Start


Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 54; 146, 1 Kings 1:32-2:4 (5-46a) 46b, Acts 26:24-27:8, Mark 13:28-37

It’s not unusual for a new CEO to clean house and hire in a team better suited to their vision. Outgoing pastors traditionally steer clear of the congregation for months or years so the new minister can get as fresh a start as possible. There is often unfinished business the outgoing leader, for whatever reason, did not resolve. Sharp transitions open a psychological door for change to enter.

Like many leaders, David was entirely aware of what he’d left undone. Before he died, he advised his son and successor Solomon on the unfinished business of the kingdom. Most of it was in the form of disloyal advisors and rivals who had thus far been spared punishment. Solomon, in what could be considered a pretty hostile takeover, had them all executed within three years.

We can’t go around executing those who hold us back from a fresh start, but we may need to make some seemingly brutal decisions.

The biggest impediment to change is not a lack of will, but lack of understanding how change happens. Recovering addicts and paroled criminals who return to the environments where their troubles began are significantly more likely to relapse than those who find somewhere else to go. Those are extreme examples, but when we are ready to take the next step on a spiritual journey, we first need to identify what’s kept us from taking that step so far. Friends? Comfort? Habit? What rewards us for staying where we are instead of going where we want to be? We must change that first.

It’s important to remember that’s going to be different in tone and purpose than a typical career-minded change. We aren’t trying to promote or exalt ourselves, but rather to grow more humble, more servant-like. That may cost us relationships and status. It will certainly cost us comfort. These changes are difficult and scary, and therefore easy to avoid or backslide. We can set ourselves up for success by making it more difficult to remain or go back than to move forward. If you can’t get off the couch, give it away.

Comfort: Change is possible…

Challenge: … but you have to make it possible.

Prayer: Hear the voice of my supplication, as I cry to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary. (Psalm 28:2)

Discussion: What’s the best change you’ve ever made? How did you do it?

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