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Changing Direction

After teaching all day in Riga at the School of Preachers I had a walk along the river with another pastor who was in Riga that weekend.

He had plans for dinner, so I headed off to my usual spot for post-teaching dinner. There was one of those inspirational sayings on the wall by my table:

“Some people cross your path and change your whole direction.”

I have often found that to be the case in my life. It is key people that God brought into my life that led to the great turning points in my life. These people are like a series of stepping stones that have helped me to navigate life and its choices.

I guess that after Jesus, the most important person to have changed the direction of my life is my wife. She has brought so much to my life that wouldn’t have been there without her.

No wonder people call their wives, the other half. I think that in my case it could well be the other 75%!

I am excited by the way that what might appear to be a chance meeting can be significant in changing the course of our lives. Perhaps this should make us much more attentive to those we encounter on the way.

I wonder how many potentially significant people we have missed on the way because we have simply not been paying attention?

Yesterday I met a room full of people that I had not met before. I hadn’t expected to be preaching at 4pm on Sunday afternoon but had been asked to do so the previous afternoon. The service was for homeless people who come to have a hot drink, soup, and snacks. I was impressed by the dedicated team led by Efraims Smits who made everyone feel welcome and valued. At one point in the service the team spent time talking and praying with those present. It was good to see demonstrations of genuine love and concern.

I was asked to preach on the lost things in Luke 15. I have been particularly drawn to these stories while writing about fatherlessness. I cannot begin to say how compelling the story of the lost son is to me. The way that the waiting father greets his returning son with a kiss is breath-taking. The son has been rehearsing a repentance speech that aims to lead to a request for the father to take him on as one of his servants. The kiss and the fresh set of clothes, shoes, and a ring make it plan that the father is welcoming him home as a son.

I remember hearing Rob Parsons of Care for the Family speak about the subject ‘The Return of the Prodigals’. He said that “There can be a homecoming because there is a home.”

The story in Luke 15 tells us that the runaway “came to his senses.” He had come to appreciate what he had lost. He now encountered his father again as if for the first time.

That discovery changed the direction of his life.

Who may you meet today who might change the direction of your life?

Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash

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