“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

I have a small figurine of Noah and his wife. Naamah (Noah’s wife) has a bag packed and stands proudly beside her husband, both of them with their eyes filled with hope, possibilities and dreams of what might be in their future!

Martha Jo gave this knick-knack to me when we first entered ordained ministry. Along with it came a promise that she was ready to face whatever (wherever) God placed in our lives as long as we were together. That memory makes me as sentimental today as it did the day I received it. Martha Jo’s commitment to me and to following God has always been an inspiration to me and it is something that I have never taken for granted.

However, as I look into Noah & Naamah’s eyes, I can’t help but feel like perhaps I have lost some of that wonder of the future and have become more cautious in my approach to a life of faith that, at one time, could be described as filled with “reckless abandon”. When we first ventured into ministry we had no kids, no mortgage, no car payment (and thanks to my parents), not even school debt. We just had each other. Life felt so unscripted and unencumbered. The world was open to us and we relied on God as our guide.

I probably romanticize this time of my life a little bit, because I am sure that I had plenty of worries, fears, and doubts during this part of my life. However, as I review my life right now, I can’t help but wonder if the hard work and diligence that has gone into providing for my family, and seeking out security has come at a cost. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and I am not in the middle of some “Mid-Life Crisis”, but I am haunted by how I would respond to God if I felt called to uproot and move my family to a different setting. At this point, I question whether I have placed myself into some sort of “yoke of slavery” for the trade-off of safety and predictability of my “comfort zone”.

I wonder how often we settle for the “easy way”, the “status quo”, or the “path of least resistance”. Christ has set us FREE and part of that freedom means that we have the opportunities to embrace life more abundantly! Perhaps this Lenten season is a time to consider how we can step out of our “yokes of slavery” and embrace the abundant life that Jesus offers. Sometimes that might mean making significant changes that shake up our “normal”, sometimes that might mean staying put and learning what God is doing right where we are and joining Him with everything that we have. Either way, slavery comes in many forms, the secret is to strip off the things that burden us and pick up our cross to follow the One that has set us free!

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help us to get the most out of each day. Help us to follow you in all things. If that means making changes, give us the courage to do so. If that means staying put, then give us peace and stamina for our journey. In all things, may we seek to grow closer to you! AMEN.
Thought for the Day: “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd.(American author and philanthropist)