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Jan 17 2010

Adjusting The Pace

Posted by Mugs @ 9:52 pm in Devotional

By Mugs Manry

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

Hebrews 10:24 (NIV)

Intelligence was one of the criteria I used when recently researching for a family pet. I had loved the huskies I had owned, but now I wanted a dog smart enough to train, not just smart enough to escape. I decided to get a Golden Retriever. Prior to owning one, I did not realize how remarkably intelligent they are. Our Golden Retriever, Blaze, will play many different games with our family. A family member will often think he or she has set the parameters of the game with Blaze. Then, the person will watch in amazement as Blaze changes those parameters.

The most obvious adjustment Blaze makes in a game is his rate of speed. If he is playing keep away with a teenager in the backyard, Blaze will zip around with bursts of speed high enough to outrun him. Yet, when he is playing keep away with a five year old, Blaze jogs just fast enough to stay barely out of reach. Blaze slows down and speeds up, so the child can almost, but not quite catch a hold of the rope.

When I play fetch with Blaze, he will bring the ball back to me the first few times. Next, he will begin to test me to determine my distance of tolerance. He will drop the ball one foot away, then two feet away, then three feet away, until I turn my back and walk away. Once I walk away, he immediately brings me the ball to get me back in the game.

Our neighbors have a female black lab and when she is out, Blaze loves to run up and down the fence line with her. After the first few dashes back and forth, Blaze decides to vary his route. He begins to run figure eights around bushes, stops to pick up and drop balls or carry sticks all at top speed in his attempt to get her to imitate him.

He is spurring the neighbor dog on. He is spurring me on. He is spurring my child and teenager on all at the rate of speed that keeps us in the game. He stays just out of reach setting a goal that seems possible to attain. If he never slows, never gives up the ball, or always races at his top speed, we may give up. “It’s too difficult. I can’t keep up,” we think.

Often in our Christian walk, we set our rate of speed based on where we are with God, and forget to consider that our brother may need us to adjust to a slower pace. We are called to “consider how to spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” While we should continue to pursue God at our rate of speed, we must have grace for our sister who is moving at a slower rate. We do not benefit our brother if he says, “It’s too difficult. I can’t keep up.”

We may want to teach in depth theology, yet our brother never finished school. We may desire intensive Bible Studies, yet our sister has an infant and no time. We may love to pray for great lengths of time, yet our brother is too shy to pray more than one sentence. We may aspire to work all day in a soup kitchen, yet our sister may be afraid to drive downtown.

The Lord Jesus showed us how to meet people where they are. He simply told His followers, “Follow Me.” He taught them lessons they could understand through parables. He encouraged, exhorted, and inspired them, as they walked along beside Him.

Dear Lord, Show me how to meet people where they are. Open my eyes to a brother or sister who You would have me disciple. Keep me aware of how vital it is to train others as I continue to pursue You. Help me to be effective in spurring on my brothers and sisters in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Pray and ask God to reveal to you one brother or one sister in Christ whom you could walk alongside. Seek discernment from the Holy Spirit as to the best way to spur this individual on. When interacting with this brother or sister, set your pace just slightly faster than their pace.

Reflections:

Has your intense focus on your relationship with Christ left your brother behind?

Has your maturity in the faith made you inaccessible to a new believer?

Are you willing to slow your sprint to a walk to help your sister?

Power Verses:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Corinthians 14:12 (NIV) “So, it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.”

One Response to “Adjusting The Pace”

  1. Sherri Easterday says:

    Ouch….point well taken. This was awesome. Thanks

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