So far 2013 appears to have been a year of considerable change, especially in the lives of high profile figures.
Back in February, Pope Benedict became the first Pope in history to resign as head of the Catholic Church. Since then, of course, the world of sport has been left reeling following the recent retirements of long serving Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and former Utd maestro and England midfielder David Beckham. These days, hardly a week passes, before someone decides to call it a day.
Such resignations provoke an interesting question, however: When is it time to leave? Just as there’s a right time to “arrive” there’s also a right time to “depart”.
Most people try to leave when they are on top; when they feel they have done everything they can for an organisation, a firm, a church or a cause. Sadly, others stay too long and end up regretting not moving on when the opportunity came.
Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t make a change when you should have and it cost you dearly? People came to you and suggested you make that change, step down, take a different course of action, let that person go, move out of the house, go back to school, but for one reason or another, you elected not to make the change.
Not knowing when to change can cause us a lot of pain and heartache, but it doesn’t have to be like this. The Bible doesn’t advocate that we continually bang our heads off a wall. On the contrary Jesus has given us a blueprint for change in Matthew’s gospel. Instructing his disciples about when it’s appropriate to move on, He said “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14).
Shaking the dust from the feet was a practice of pious Jews during New Testament times. Christ told his disciples to perform this practice against non-believing Jews. If they went into a house and found no peace there, Christ exhorted them to move on to a place where their peace would return. The sign for moving on therefore is “peace” or, rather, lack of it. In Greek the word peace stands for “quietness, rest, set at one again”. Yet, too often, many of us tolerate strife and an uncomfortable environment due to the fear of change.
The word change fills us with trepidation. Few of us like the thought of change in our lives, yet change is necessary and even healthy. Change enables us to reflect on past successes and failures; while allowing others to finally spread their wings and do the job we once did with such passion, commitment and distinction. Solomon writes “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Pope Benedict, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham no doubt gave great consideration to their respective retirements. They knew it was time to make the change in their own lives.
Pay attention to your yearnings. Christ isn’t suggesting we become “church hoppers” or that we should prematurely change our chosen professions, or move on from things we enjoy doing, but He is saying its okay to make the change if a period of our lives appears to be drawing to a close.
Deep down all of us know when it’s time to make that change. We don’t need to ask others or, put out any fleeces before the Lord. Instead, we just need to follow our hearts, be brave and accept that a new season is about to dawn.
I was glad to see the retirement of Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, who surprisingly stepped down recently.
Not just because his club have dominated English football for over a quarter of a century under his guidance. Instead my reason is much more personal.
As the nation paid its final respects to Baroness Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday April 17, friends and foes continued to row over her legacy. Thousands lined the streets of central London as the former prime minister was carried with full military honours to St Paul’s Cathedral.