The Way It Is

 

Read: Acts 10            

Perhaps you remember the song by Bruce Hornsby and the Range that said, “That’s just the way it is, some things will never change?”  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you do some of the things you do?  Better yet, have you ever asked God about those things?  In his book “Engage” Pastor Nelson Searcy shares a good example of this.  It’s the story of a young newlywed couple who were trying to navigate their new marriage while living hundreds of miles from their family and long-time friends. 

He writes, “One night, as the two were preparing dinner, the husband was peeling potatoes at the sink when he noticed his wife cutting the ends off the uncooked roast and throwing them away.  After she had seasoned the meat and put it in the oven, he asked her why she had cut the ends off the roast.  In his opinion the ends are the best part.  Shooting him down with a don’t-question-my-methods look, she answered, “Because.  Well, just because…. Actually, I’m not sure.  That’s the way my mom always does it.”  Determined to save future end pieces and get to the bottom of this mystery, the young man called up his mother-in-law and asked her the question.  Her reply was similar, “I’ve always done it that way because that’s the way my mother did it.”

Now the new husband was getting frustrated. Not willing to let the issue go, he put his mother-in-law on hold and called his new grandmother-in-law.  When everyone was on the line together he asked, “Grams, why do you cut the ends off a roast before you cook it?”  The grandmother gave a surprised laugh and said, “Because my pan is too small to fit a whole roast!  Why do you ask?”  Sometimes tradition can be a good thing, but other times you need to question why you’re doing it.

Peter realized this in Acts 10 when the Lord gave him a vision that the gospel message was for all people and not just the Jews.  The way it always was is not the way it was going to be going forward.  The lens of faith was going to be expanded to include all those who believe in Jesus and follow his will, not only one particular people group.  Peter had to refocus on the how, why, and where of his ministry.  He had to move from his traditional view of how it was, to God’s view of how it will now be.

It’s important for us to always ask why things are done a certain way.  Sometimes the traditional ways are good and need to continue, but there are other times that God is beginning something new and creative in our lives and in our world.  It is important for us to be open to those changes when they are aligned with God’s Word, God’s will, and God’s purpose.  Just like the newlywed couple, we might realize that “the way it is” does not necessarily mean it’s the way it needs to be moving forward.

Make it Personal:  Find some things in your life, in your faith, in your family, and in your work to ask the question, “Why do we do this?”  Then consider if they are done for good reasons or only reasons of tradition and habit.  Perhaps the way it was does not need to be the way it is.  Thankfully Peter was open to God’s vision in Acts 10 and the gospel message of salvation in Jesus was opened up to all of us.  

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church