Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pulling and Stretching

When we go to the beach, we sometimes end up in a shop that has a machine that pulls taffy. Have you ever watched a machine pull taffy? It seems like it ought to reach a point where either the turning arms of the machine hit each other or the taffy would have been pulled so much as to break. But neither one of those things happen.

Why do you have to pull taffy? According to the Internet, pulling taffy incorporates air into the candy, and makes it lighter and chewier. In order for taffy to become what it is destined to be, you have to stretch and pull it.

Jeremiah preached today, and he said something that surprised me. He said that adding people to the body of Christ requires patience. Wait; that's not the surprising part. I imagined that I would have to be patient with other people, but he went on to explain that it requires patience with ourselves. We have to be patient as God transforms us, so that we desire for God to transform us. Then, we have to be patient as God pulls and stretches us, giving us the skills and gifts necessary to demonstrate an inviting attitude.

We feel uncomfortable inviting other people to church; uncomfortable with showing hospitality to people we don't know. So we give up -- evangelism is just not my gift.

But God is not finished with me yet. He's not finished with any of us yet. The taffy has to be pulled -- longer than we want to pull it. It requires patience for God to turn us into the children of God we have the potential to become. And yet he uses us anyway.

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