Stretching yourself

October 25, 2010

I have  some friends who have just returned from a mission trip to Africa.  It reminds me of a song that a group of teens used to sing:  Please Don’t Send Me To Africa. It was about wanting to serve God but not really wanting to go anywhere too uncomfortable. And I have to admit, Africa would be a stretch for me.  Russia, I have done, Africa still scares me; I’m not sure why.  But my friends went, knowing that they would probably be stretched farther than they ever have been before.  Spiritually, Physically or mentally; possibly all three.  But they went because they heard the call and they obeyed.

I’m not going to look for stretch marks.  But I’ll bet they all come back having grown from the stretch.  They’ll be taller, spiritually and mentally at least.

One time I quit a job not knowing what was next.  God told me to quit, so I quit.  It may sound foolish, it may sound brave.  I didn’t think it was either.  Disobeying God is foolish, and you have to be crazy, not brave, to disobey God.  So I quit.  And in the next two days I was offered jobs by two churches who had no idea what I had just done.  I hardly had time to stretch.

Right now I feel like Stretch Armstrong in the hands of two eight-year-old boys.

So why not embrace spiritual stretching?  For the same reason many do not embrace stretching before exercise.  It can be uncomfortable,  and it keeps us from doing what we think we ought to be doing right now. But stretching is always worth the time and trouble when we exercise.  We stretch by going a little farther, doing a bit more, than ever before.  And by stretching in this way, gradually, we will come to the point where we can do more than we ever thought possible.   The same is true when it comes to exercising our faith.  Doing a bit more, going a little farther, trusting when it doesn’t seem logical, will cause us to be able to do more than we ever thought possible.

So while a nice, comfortable, safe, trouble-free life sounds good, Stretching, then going farther than you’ve ever gone before will be not only a great adventure, but a great opportunity for growth.

Just ask my friends.

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