On the move

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Moving house is an adventure. It’s an exciting time in life when one has to make major decisions, yet brace for the worst. There’s the physical accumulation of goods. Will the house you move to be different? How will everything fit? Further, if you’re moving interstate, the to-do list increases with the change of insurance companies, utilities, new driver’s licence and removalists. 

The change of work environment, church, friends and vocation can bring a whirlwind of emotions. None are by themselves overwhelming—but all take time and put pressure on family, and the normally docile family members become incensed over the slightest matters.

I wonder what it must have been like for Moses and the Israelites when they moved after 430 years of accumulated life in Egypt? Can you imagine the daunting mission of moving to freedom with much joy into the desert? Yet it took less than three days to complain bitterly in the wilderness (Exodus 14:12). They complained about the lack of water (15:23). They grumbled about food (16:2,3). They complained, even though God provided for their every need.

Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” As you can see, moving can make even the most docile people incensed over the slightest matters!

Australia is on the move—ideologically, intellectually, socially, spiritually, emotionally and politically. As a result, our laidback, Aussie attitude is becoming much more aggressive. What once was something we’d let slide to the keeper is now defended forcefully, with great antagonism. There is little meekness or peacefulness as we become proficient at being argumentative on social media, and in person. Everyone is responding as they see fit. 

How should we respond as Seventh-day Adventists? Jesus shares great wisdom in Matthew 5:5,9: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

I invite you to be different in moments of hostility, so we can eventually change the world by establishing love, compassion, peace and justice.

Pastor Terry Johnson is president of the Australian Union Conference.

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