By Tom Carter
We at the Ridge were recently honored to host two youth groups at our campus. One group was simply passing through and needed lodging for the night, while the other was on a mission trip that included serving and performing a play. Now on the face this is a fairly simple operation, give them a place to sleep and eat- check! Arrange for a time to perform the play- check! Done, easy-peasy right? Well not really…
Have you ever noticed that when a guest is coming, that pile of books and papers you keep on the counter suddenly looks bad? Well, yes, it’s a real thing. Over time we surround ourselves with stuff that was once useful (maybe??) but now is just lingering junk that is in the way. But its not just the stuff it’s also the ideas and experiences it represents. Vestiges of the past that were once relevant and useful but now are only in the way.
Change is hard and sometimes it helps to have others assist in the purging. Purging and pruning are a normal part of life. Branches that were once essential to the survival of a tree become dead and must be removed for not only the health of the tree but other plants and people surrounding them. Things that were once beautiful and new and immensely useful are now clutter that prevents growth.
So often we see change as a time when things we hold dear are taken from us, and sometimes we wonder if maybe we were wrong to embrace these things before. But renewal is not an indictment on the validity of and old way, no, it is simply the natural process of pruning that occurs in all of life. The question is, will I look for areas of my life and work that need pruned or wait for a storm to violently tear those already dead branches from me?
For us the prospect of some able-bodied students coming to help clear the clutter was an inspiration. Everyone was thrilled that help was on the way and great things would occur. What we didn’t realize early on was how much work would need to be done before the students could even begin.
Isn’t it interesting that even though the kids were coming to help us clean up, we did more cleaning and prep before they came than when they were here? The reality that we were not prepared to welcome such a large and vibrant group at a moments notice is sobering. Frankly we needed months to be ready to host 120 people over the weekend.
I hope that as we reflect on the great time we had working, playing and worshiping with these fine young people and leaders that we commit to a higher standard of readiness. It is so easy to get buried up in what was, that we are unable to pursue what can be. I am so grateful that these groups came to visit us and share their lives with us for a moment.
So, when you feel stuck, ask for help, then embrace it! Let others help clear away clutter that never had meaning to them anyway. Let others help you clip away what is weighing you down. And in this you are helping others grow and exercise themselves as they help you lean down a little and prepare for new and better things! Press on! Philippians 3:12-14