Beautiful, Scary, Energizing Change

Prepared by Vision Board President Brad Van Horn

Change at Easter has been discussed many times but, it still seems appropriate to discuss the beautiful, scary, energizing, grievous, complex, and powerful changes that have happened – and are still happening – at Easter Lutheran Church.  Retirements, new pastoral calls, periods of hard-earned rest, tearful good-byes, and warm welcomes; we have seen them all!  Change is seldom easy!

Rubiks_cubeDuring a recent men’s leadership group meeting, the following was read from the book, “Leadership Prayers” by Richard Kriegbaum.  It is included in this devotion because we’ve seen so much complex change over the last few years at Easter and this really illustrates the challenges we have faced together. Kriegbaum writes, “In the guest bathroom of a friend’s home, I found no reading material, only a Rubik’s Cube. Pondering the challenges of leadership while fiddling with the plastic puzzle, I happened upon these lessons:

Some things cannot be changed. The center square determines what color each side of the cube must be.  Everything else about the cube can be changed in endless permutations, but the color of any one face is determined by the center.  Inherently optimistic, I assume I can accomplish whatever the organization needs, but I have always been blessed with a few faithful “reality therapists” who make sure we do not waste time and energy trying to do the impossible.

You can never change just one thing. The only way to move any square on any face of the cube is to move twelve squares all at once.  I may want to move one manager, rewrite one section of the plan, modify one advertising concept, drop one product line, add one new service, or relocate one branch office.  But every change has multiple results, planned and otherwise.

You have to give up what you have to get what you want. Getting one face of the cube all the same color is not too difficult, but progress beyond that point requires losing part of that beautifully complete face.  Most people fail the cube because they cannot destroy the first complete face they achieve.  They cling to the lovely but unfinished present and sacrifice the future.

This clever metaphor doesn’t judge change to be either good or bad, but if the goal is to complete the cube, change is necessary.  Beyond the old axiom of change is inevitable, the passage elegantly brings additional context to the nature of change that are not so intuitive, i.e.  ‘Some things cannot be changed,’ ‘You can never change just one thing,’ and ‘You have to give up what you have to get what you want.’”

As it was read, the images of change at Easter were flashing in my mind with all the progress and complexity.  And then a larger question came to mind: does this puzzle toy and the physics that govern it represent our spiritual lives?  Are we prepared to uphold our values every day and not allow them to be changed?

Do we recognize all the transformations in our lives when we make a change that accepts God?  Do we cling to the unfinished present and sacrifice our future in the eyes of God?

Dear Lord, help us to see the changes in our lives that would serve you.  Guide us to separate those things derived from your word that must not change, from those things that must change in order to accomplish your will.  Please help us find the courage to let go of our time, talent, and treasure to serve you and others in need so that we may build a future with you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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