The challenge of walking with the God who knows me  

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Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.

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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Col 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.”

The message was quite clear and very direct.  ‘“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.’ (Luke 5:10-11 NIV)

I had been working for about a year and a half with some friends John and Molly.  They distribute a paper that presents the gospel through out the Portuguese speaking world. Not really knowing the language very well, I was helping them with their computer system and updating their data base.  It was a very worth while ministry. In Portugal it helped people who would never be seen dead talking to an Evangelical and in Africa where teaching can be quite thin on the ground, it provided a good Bible study.

Now, it seemed Jesus asked me to leave.  It was not a problem with our friends, the problem was more with me.  Computers have long been a source of problems for me, and the sense was largely one of leaving something that was causing me problems.  The problem was, that having been led like this, I jumped.  There was no sense of reflection about how to do this in the best possible way, rather it was jump first and ask questions later.  I felt like I had a freedom to finish things off.  The text said that they pulled the boat up onto the shore.  Well, we were in the midsts of getting a new computer system and I needed to transfer all of the data base on to the new system.  This proved to be more difficult than I could imagine.  Letters with accents took on new shapes, ... well if you know anything about computers I can leave the rest to your imagination.  So, I set about finishing but then I thought I had all the time in the world to finish, and feeling a bit sheepish, I did not explain to John what was going on.  That was a bad mistake.

It is amazing how Jesus has quite a different schedule from us.  I was getting to the end, when suddenly Jesus asked me to start an extended period of fasting and prayer.  I felt like I needed to complete the work urgently, in order to be away from the impurity of my mind introduced by computers.  So, I spent 24 hours in the office over a holiday getting the information transferred and then quit in order to pray.

Having stopped so quickly, and so completely I left John and Molly hurt and feeling like they must have mortally offended me in some way.  I realised from this that it is much better to open about what Jesus is doing, even if I do feel a bit foolish in it.  It was also a mistake to think that because I could not see any issue coming over the horizon that needed an urgency, Jesus was well able to put one there.  Finally, it was a mistake because I in fact finished too fast.  Although I did this transfer, I was later to find that whole blocks of the information had gone through incorrectly and had to be modified by hand, and with tens of thousands of addresses that was not a simple matter.

I am sure Jesus would have preferred a greater sense of urgency at the beginning, but having not got it, there was a need to finish well.  Through trying to be obedient, I jumped too quickly.