July 2013

Dear Friends,

Recently, I have become more aware of just how much we can become dependent upon ‘things’. For example, I have always said that without my diary I would be lost. It contains details of all my appointments and meetings etc. so I am dependent on the information contained there to organize my life. For this reason, some ministers take to having a duplicate diary at home- just in case. And equally, though I never thought I would admit it, if my computer fails it is a real nightmare inconvenience. Just the other day, I discovered another ‘thing’ that can cause problems – the mobile phone! Let’s just say that I had a mishap with my mobile phone – I won’t go into the details, except to say that the ingress of water rendered the phone useless! For a moment there was a sense of panic and frustration – how many people have my phone number, and if the sim card in the phone is damaged, how many people must I inform of a new number? As things turned out, the sim card was okay and I was able to transfer it to my new phone – problem solved.

The parable of the mobile phone brought home to me a very simple truth - at times our lives can be taken over by things.  We can become so dependent upon them, that when they fail and let us down we are totally lost. It seems to me that this simple illustration can speak of our lives in general. It can be very easy to think that we are in control…that everything is in place…that we are doing things in our own strength. But then something goes wrong, and we find ourselves feeling lost.

Jesus once said to his disciples “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15: verse 5). Jesus’ words serve as a warning about the danger of placing our faith and trust in earthly things and in our own strength. In his book Messages that Move Tim Hawkins speaks of his preparation before he starts to lead worship. Firstly he thinks of all the practical ‘things’: Is the mike turned on? Have I got all my notes? Have I checked my watch? After he has cleared his mind of all those things, he says a prayer Not me, but you Lord.  Words he says over and over again. As he says, “it is not about me and my abilities. I want to be all about God – and His abilities.”

The message for us of course is that while earthly things are only temporary, sooner or later they will let us down. But God is eternal. God will never let us down. God is there through the Holy Spirit to guide us, equip us, empower us and comfort us.

Your friend and Minister,

Alan