Years ago, I read a little story by Chuck Swindoll and it goes something like this…
A pastor had been invited to dinner at the home of a woman of the church, and she served a delicious ham. The pastor enjoyed it so much that he asked for the recipe, and the woman wrote it down for him.
Upon looking over the recipe, the pastor inquired, “Why do you cut both ends off the ham before it is prepared and put in the pan with the spices?” The young woman replied, “I don’t know. I cut the ends off because I learned this recipe from my mom and that was the way she had always done it.”
The pastor’s question got the young woman thinking and so she called her mom to ask her: “Mom, when we make the ham, why do we cut off and discard the ends before we set it in the pan and season it?” Her mom quickly replied, “That is how your grandma always did it and I learned the recipe from her.”
Now the young woman was really curious, so she called her elderly grandma and asked her the same question: “Grandma, I make the ham recipe that I learned from mom and she learned from you. Why do you cut the ends off the ham before you prepare it?” The grandmother thought for a while, since it had been years since she made the ham herself, and then replied, “I cut them off because the ham was always bigger than the pan I had back then. I had to cut the ends off to make it fit.”
I love this story for so many reasons. We oftentimes continue to do things without thinking about them, it is just because we’ve always done it that way. Can you think of anything that you do because you’ve just done it that way, without any thought that maybe it could be improved upon?
This story has been used in my Sunday School Classes, Bible Studies, and even at Staff Meetings and Team Meetings because it is an excellent example of why we are hesitant to change the way we do things or really don’t even know why we do them the way we do.
Change is hard, no matter how you look at it. For ten years of my working career, I was employed for companies that installed and trained computer systems in doctors’ offices and hospitals. The offices’ processes now had to change as they were automated, which turned everything upside down. However, after enough training, hands-on time, answering questions, and hand-holding, many of the class members would say, ‘Now I don’t remember how we used to do this!’ People are more adaptable than they think they are. I’ve heard it said that “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”
Have you ever thought of the cycle of change that a butterfly goes through in its life? It begins in the egg stage, moves to the caterpillar, goes into a cocoon in the pupa stage, and emerges beautifully as a butterfly. That transition from cocoon to butterfly is painful, trying to extricate itself from the cocoon. We often wish we were further ahead in our lives or compare ourselves to where we thought we’d be at this stage. Don’t rush it! The butterfly usually only lives a couple of weeks after its emersion from cocoon, it’s final stage of life. Enjoy each step as we move on through the Seasons.
Talk about change! Our world has changed drastically in 2020! If someone had told us that we would wear masks for nine months, we would have thought they were crazy. However, here we are. It’s impacted everyone in different ways. There is grief over the loss of over 233,000 souls. We are limited in seeing our families and friends. Children are being schooled in different ways. We have worshipped differently on zoom and Facebook; many have lost jobs, healthcare, businesses have shut down. Almost every facet of what we knew to be our life is different, and we have had to adjust.
This time of year, the leaves are changing, the flowers have stopped blooming, we are preparing to go into another Season that will soon produce snow here in the Northeast. Just last weekend, we went through a time change that threw off everything again, including our animals, our sleep, hour of darkness, and our bellies! All of nature is preparing for the transition to the new season of life. Birds are flying South, animals will be storing up food for winter, some animals will be preparing for hibernation. Storm windows used to be put up this time of the year, and I remember helping my Dad and Grandpa put up plastic over the windows at camp to prevent the winter winds from blowing in. Porch furniture is being brought in, lawnmowers are being cleaned from the season of growing, and snow blowers will be tuned up soon. An old Chinese proverb states, “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills.”
The winds and storms of change blow their winds through our lives daily, monthly, and even on a seasonal basis. I’ve grown to realize that there is only one thing in our life that gives us stability and a way to brace ourselves from the change. That is Jesus. Romans 13:8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” If we keep our eyes on Jesus, our ultimate leader will never change, unlike human leaders.
Swindoll, in his book entitled ‘Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, ‘ states, “Now… let’s walk together as God escorts us through the seasons. Let’s listen closely to His voice as we observe the changing scenery. It might be wise for us to brace ourselves against those strong gusts of wind that inevitably accompany each season. But even the storms bear a message of encouragement for us: Deeper roots make for stronger lives.”
Let’s help build windmills and grow our roots deeper as we look for the positives in the change!
Be Blessed to be a blessing –