𝐃𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞?
This week marked a significant anniversary for Monic and I.
12 months ago, we arrived in the Netherlands.
Those months have simply flown by, so incredibly fast.
We have travelled throughout Belgium and the Netherlands, visited with lots of family, reacquainted ourselves with many old friends, made many new friends from all across the world and testified of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in many towns and cities.
Yesterday, we met up with fellow Scot – Mark Stewart, an Area Authority Seventy, as each of us fulfilled assignments to speak at The Hague Stake Conference in Zoetermeer this weekend.
Reflecting this morning, I was reminded of a scripture in Ephesians 2:19.
At the time the Apostle Paul was fearlessly traveling into lots of different lands and meeting many new people.
Writing to the members of the Church, or Saints as they were called and are called today, he reminded members of the Church of the blessings of belonging, when he told them, “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”
What do you think of when you think of “strangers” or “foreigners”?
Mark and I are both Scottish, growing up on opposite sides of the country.
Speaking last night, our mother tongue, dialect, cultural background, and lifestyle may be different from the Dutch, but we were no strangers or foreigners – we were indeed fellowcitizens with the household of God, the Saints, here in the Netherlands.
In our day, in these turbulent times in which we live, strangers and foreigners are coming to us – daily.
We don’t have to look far. They are all around us.
Are you welcoming?
In fact, I was a stranger here not too long ago, yet I have always felt welcome here.
I know that no-one is a stranger to Jesus Christ.
In Romans 8:16-17, the Apostle Paul explains further…
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”
Try as we may, we cannot separate ourselves from each other.
As children of God, we are not strangers to one another, we are all in fact brothers and sisters.
I hope that we will remember that we are all children of God and part of His family.
Have you ever felt like a stranger?
“Can anyone juggle?” I asked.
A few raised their hands and I invited them forward.
I gave them three balls each and asked them to show us how.
Admittedly, they were a little rusty, but after a few attempts, the basics returned.
“Who would like to learn how to juggle?” I asked.
A few raised their hands and I invited them forward.
I gave those who could juggle the assignment to teach those who came forward how to juggle.
The challenge – they had only two minutes to show them how.
After their time was up, the novice jugglers showed us their rudimentary skills.
The result – it wasn’t very pretty, with balls flying everywhere – but it was great fun!
After a few attempts, one even managed to complete a cycle of three balls through the air.
The Lessons –
- Learning takes practice.
- Growth and Development takes time.
As we grow older and develop in life, we have to learn how to juggle many responsibilities. Frequently, it can take lots of practice to get things right.
That day, I gave a new set of juggling balls to the willing learners.
Pleasingly a week later, one by one they told me of their significant improvement in their juggling skills. Each of them had taken time to learn the techniques of throwing and catching a ball. They had practiced with 2 balls and then ultimately juggled with 3. With lots of continuous practice, 4 balls won’t be a problem either.
Learning something new? Don’t get too disheartened and throw in the towel too soon!
Remember, practice and time are key principles in our learning, growth and development.
“Will I answer that?” I thought.
It had been an extremely busy day. Our schedule was packed full. On arriving home around 3.30pm yesterday, I said to Monic that I was going for a walk to get some fresh air, stretch my legs and generally chill for half an hour. I asked if she wanted to come, but she needed to attend to some other things.
So, off I strode, along to the canal side to enjoy a pleasant stroll and clear my thoughts.
Pausing along the way to enjoy the nature and the windmill, I pulled out my phone to take a picture.
And there it was, the phone was silently ringing, some young missionaries were trying to get a hold of me. And then came the thought above!
What is it about a ringing phone that compels us to answer it?
I was so enjoying my little walk!
Interruptions! How do you deal with them?
So, I chose to answer the call.
“Do you have a minute?” asked the young missionary, “I just have one quick question. I can call you back if it is not a good time?”
Smiling, “on you go” I said.
We spoke for 10 minutes and resolved the immediate matter at hand. We talked, shared, asked questions, problem solved and above all I listened.
How many times a day do you hear those fateful words?
Frequently, one-minute turns into 10, one question becomes several, and you can end up losing big chunks of your day. Balancing the need to be accessible and productive is a challenge that we all face at times.
All that said, I enjoyed our conversation. We resolved a few things together and followed up later with an email to address the main concern.
Interruptions happen, so it’s how you deal with them that matters. Over the years I have learned to expect them!
Each of us oftentimes face many random factors in our day. They will control you unless you control them. It’s your choice. And yesterday I chose to take the call, and I am glad I did!
My advice, if you do need to interrupt someone, give them the option of turning you down without appearing rude. For instance, instead of “I just have one quick question,” ask “Is now a good time to talk?”