Daily Devotions

I am Sick of Change (an ode to Younkers and Ford Motor Company)

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

 

I was really freaked out this week. Ford Motor Company just announced that they will no longer be building cars, except the Mustang. Ford will continue to build only SUV’s and trucks. The first ford automobile, the Model T, was built at the Piquette Auto Plant in Detroit, Michigan on October 1, 1908. Ever since that fateful day in 1908, every single one of us have lived with Ford cars around us. I remember when my family purchased an early ‘70’s Ford Galaxy 500. It was bright red, with hot red interior. Now, when I say hot, I mean the temperature as well as its level on the “cool” meter. The red seats were that old plastic that stuck to the bottom of your legs, if you were unfortunate enough to wear shorts on a hot day.

 

I don’t know why this news about the Ford cars upset me. My mother also owned a Ford Monarch and Jill and I have owned at least three Ford cars during our marriage. I think the upset was due to the finality of the loss. In Des Moines many of us have struggled with the closure of the Younkers stores. My grandmother worked for nearly thirty years at a Herberger’s store in St. Cloud, Mn. Herberger’s and Younkers were both owned by now bankrupt Bon-Ton. It is the end of an era for many of us, and we don’t like it.

 

Change is frustrating because it reminds us of how little control we really have over our lives and the world in which we live. We can sit back and grumble and feel fatalistic, or we can put our lives in the hands of a being who can. God is the prime mover. God created this world. God allows change and difficulties, even death to run its course in this world, but that does not mean that this world is out of control. God is still in control over the ultimate things in our world. Department stores and automobile companies will come and go, but God is the one place where we can place our trust. God will not go bankrupt or give up and leave for a different part of the universe. God is worthy of our trust, and that will not change. Hold on to the unchanging power of God!

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All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us. (1 John 3:24)

 

This past Sunday I gave a sermon from the gospel of John 15:1-8, which also used the word “abide.” Now we see the word “abide” again in 1 John. The word “abide” is often used in legal terms. For example, one is to abide in the law, or abide in our judicial process. Abiding is about making a commitment to a system or way of thinking.

 

This past week our congregation hosted the homeless families from Family Promise. We host them seven days per week, but it was our turn to care for them in the evenings and overnight as well. We feel it is our Christian duty to abide in God by abiding by those in need. One way we do this is through supporting the ministry of Family Promise. Family Promise cares for people for up to 90 days. It is Family Promise’s commitment to keeping homeless families together until they can be given the skills to be employed, with a home of their own.

 

Each time one of our church family spends time caring for a Family Promise family, the person is obeying God’s commandment to “abide with him.” When we care for someone less fortunate, we care for Christ. The blessing is that the more we care for others, the more we end up caring for ourselves. When we abide in each other, our lives are bound together in a covenant, through the Spirit of God.

 

Today, think about the different ways you can express your love by abiding in someone else. You can do something meaningful without doing something grandiose. A friend of mine decided this past week to greet each person who waits on him in a restaurant by introducing himself and asking for her/his name. It is amazing how moved the person is and how often she/he visits with my friend, often telling him something about themselves. Something as simple as sharing your name can be a loving act. Abide in God by offering a little bit more of yourself to the world around you.

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