I’m writing to you, confident of your obedience and knowing that you will do more than what I ask.
I don’t know about you, but I like things to have order. My sense of well-being is often derived from my understanding of order and control. I like to have specific guidelines and plans for my life, and I like people around me having specific guidelines and plans for their lives as well.
However, I am learning of the futility of trying to be in control and plan out every aspect of life, especially when you have two young children in your home. I’ve attempted on several occasions to explain the concept of order to my children, James Scott (9) and Lindsey (8), but they seem to have a slightly different interpretation of order.
What I have come to realize is that my understanding of order and control is limited. Although I might have influence, the truth is I don’t have control. I am learning that God doesn’t want me to become a person of strict control and order, rather God wants me to become a person willing to be obedient. Through obedience to God, I am better able to let go of my need for order and control by trusting that God has multiple and endless blessings just for me.
Still, it is often difficult for me to let go of my pseudo control over life. I, like many of you I am sure, struggle with the concept of obedience, especially when I’m the one called to be obedient by God. Yet, when I turn to Holy Scripture I am better able to glean a true understanding of obedience. Peter, Paul, and a host of others struggled with the concept of obedience throughout much of their lives, but through obedience they became more richly blessed.
I believe that God blesses obedience. The obedience to which I speak is not so much to one another, although I believe this is important, but obedience to God. When congregations seek to be obedient to God, laying aside personal agendas, and “the way we have always done it,” then the power of God is released to transform lives, to move congregations from maintenance to mission, and to see the Kingdom of God come to earth. How is God calling you to obedience today?
Father Almighty, teach us to surrender our agendas and control, and to allow you to truly be the Lord of our lives and of our congregations. May we be obedient to your invitation and call to be still and know that you are God. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
The Rev. Scott D. Aleridge
Pastor Columbia First UMC, Tennessee Conference