Put Off Your Old Self
by David Dahl
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. ~John 14:12
In celebration of Spring, let your mind wander back to the day you first learned how to ride a bike. Who can forget such a grand moment?
I remember the day well: My parents presented me with a “new to me” 24” bicycle for my birthday. It was red with chrome fenders and equipped with tigers for hand grips. I could almost hear it roar just sitting there.
Excitement doesn’t fully explain what was going on in a young boy’s heart. I was nervous, because this meant letting go of the training wheels I had on my other bike. Up to that time, training wheels did the job of keeping me upright. Training wheels had trained me – at least to balance in a straight line (Cornering was always a “trick” on training wheels).
Donning my Minnesota TC cap, I mounted the “new to me” red bike. My big brother took hold of the seat, and with a mighty push, I went sailing on the lawn around the house, pedaling my heart out. I lost my balance on the third trip around and spilled on the grass. Unfazed by the crash, I called to my brother to “do it again”, and off I sailed. By sunset, I was a self-starter, but like every airplane pilot knows, the takeoff is easier than the landing. Learning to stop and dismount with any kind of finesse took a few days. Oh, the memories!
There are parallels to how we grow to follow Christ. To gain experience on a bicycle, you’re going to crash. It’s just part of it. In following Christ through life, I have pushed through many seasons of failure, frustration and battle. I have crashed many times. And once in a while, I learn. My learning from Jesus often happens where I cannot be content to rattle along on training wheels, and I’m finally willing to listen to the One who longs for me to experience the freedom that comes from following Him.
I am grateful to all of you who are not afraid to cast off the training wheels and leave the familiar to do the works of Jesus in ways large and small. You carry one another’s burdens. You make sure that your neighbors are fed, clothed and supported. You extended a hand to those who needed help through a hard winter. When called upon to aid in organizing and taking a role in leadership and fellowship opportunities, you stepped up and did it – whether you knew what you were doing or not. I have experienced this firsthand when the burdens in my own life became excessive. I can honestly say that I couldn’t make it without you reflecting the face of Jesus when I need Him most.
The community sees your witness. Way back in the second century, the writer Tertullian reported how Roman society took notice of the Christian community. Tertullian stated that the Romans would exclaim, “See how they love one another!”
Thank you for doing the work of Christ. Thank you for caring and loving. May God continue to open our eyes to the neighbors we have yet to meet.
May we all Keep and Live the Faith!
-Pr. Dave Dahl
October 26, 2020
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