Miracle story

A long time ago I heard a motivational speaker talk about why we don’t follow our dreams in life. He said we want a nice house, so we end up with a big mortgage. We want a comfortable lifestyle, want our kids in the best schools, so we need a big job to pay the bills. We want people to like us, so we devote ourselves to living up to their expectations. 

We are free to pursue all those things, and yet, when we do, sometimes we’re not really free at all.

The pandemic has led people in all walks of life to rethink their priorities. It’s been called the “The Great Resignation.”

There’s a scene in Matthew 9 that might be a model for us.

A tax collector named Matthew (who wrote the Gospel which bears his name) was sitting in his tax collector’s booth when Jesus came by and said, “Follow me.”

According to Matthew, he just got up and followed, no questions asked.

If it was hard for him to give up the wealth that tax collectors enjoyed, Matthew doesn’t say.

What’s interesting is that Matthew puts this story in the middle of a long string of miracle stories.

It seems that Matthew wants us to know that his call to be a disciple was a miracle too. 

Free to worry

Anthony Klotz, a professor of management at Texas A&M, was widely quoted recently for saying, “The great resignation is coming.”

Klotz has interviewed hundreds of people about why they left their jobs. He says there are many “pent up” resignations that didn’t happen over the last year. Millions of people had “pandemic-related epiphanies” about things like family time, commuting, working remotely, what they’re passionate about, and where to find meaning in life.

Maybe this helps explain why there are “help wanted” signs everywhere.

A friend who works for our denomination’s pension fund says that pastors are retiring in unprecedented numbers, and for the ones who stay, the denomination can’t keep up with the demand for mental health counseling.

Shouldn’t we all be feeling better now for having survived the pandemic?

It seems there is as much stress coming out of the pandemic as there was in it.  

What has shaken us so badly?

Jesus was speaking to people whose faith was wavering. He said, “If you hold to my teaching…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The Greek phrase translated “hold to my teaching” can also be translated, “make your home in my word.” Most of us don’t do that.

We get meaning from what we do and who we know.

We tell ourselves something is true if it works for us. 

And we call that freedom, and in a sense it is.

We’re free to worry about everything.