Daily Dose, Nov 14 — Turning Over a New Leaf: God Changes Lives

 

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:7-10)

Earlier in my ministry, my family and I spent seven wonderful years serving Hillside UMC in Woodstock. We got to know some great people who remain friends to this day. One of those families gave me an inspiring glimpse into what it can look like when Jesus really “gets a hold of you” and won’t let you go. It was one of those times when I thought to myself, “Lord, make me as humble and faithful as THEM!”

On the surface – or on paper – they were a fairly typical suburban upper middle class family. Both parents were employed, the husband was moving up the company ladder, they had a big beautiful house in a golf community, they had 2 young daughters and even a dog. Active in worship, in Sunday School, and in children’s and youth ministries. They were living a good life…but they still felt that some things needed to change.

They would say that they were convicted to make some changes and that the Holy Spirit was really tugging at them to adjust their values and priorities. Along with many smaller decisions, we learned that they were taking a big step. They were putting their big, beautiful house on the market. But they weren’t planning to move far away. They were hoping to move into something smaller and less expensive. Why? For them, God’s leading had been clear: God wanted them to have more money, time, energy, and resources to GIVE AWAY.

They followed God through that door. I watched it unfold with some degree of amazement. I wondered, “Would I follow so faithfully?” Turning over a new leaf doesn’t always look as stark as darkness being turned into light. It can sometimes mean a shift in priorities, and a desire to exchange something good for what is best. — Rev. Brad Greene