«For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?» (Isaiah 43: 19, NLT).
IN A STORY told by Pastor Robert H. Pierson, years ago, a train was going through the meadows of the central plains of the United States, when it had to brake abruptly. Immediately, the train operator got off, solved the problem and returned to his seat, ready to continue the journey.
«What happened?» a passenger asked the operator.
«A cow was on the tracks.»
A few seconds later, the train continued on its long journey. For a while, everything went well, until once again, the squealing of the brakes was heard. Jumping quickly out of his seat, the operator assessed the situation and returned to his post.
«Now what happened?» asked the same passenger. «Another cow?»
«No. It’s the same cow!» •
What’s the moral of this story? In Pastor Pierson’s opinion, «the same cow on the tracks» illustrates perfectly our usual tendency to resist change. «In God’s work around the world,» Pastor Pierson wrote, » ‘the same cow’ is put on the tracks, blocking the wheels of progress.»t In other words, if we want to get better results and in order to move forward as a church, we have to change many of the same plans, the same strategies, and the same methods we use. Once upon a time, those strategies fulfilled their role, but how relevant are they in today’s church?
Pastor Pierson’s observation is very timely. He made it as President of the General Conference (1966—1979), and it’s much more so now in the 21 st century! At the beginning of this new year, what can we do to let the world know of the incomparable love of a God who «gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life»? (John 3:16).
And on a more personal level, what changes should we make in our lives so that we won’t stumble over and over on «the same cow»? What changes should we make, for example, in our family life so that we can spend more time with our loved ones? How could we do our daily work more efficiently? Above all, what changes do we need to make to our daily schedule to have more time to commune with God?
This is the first day of the rest of our lives. What if, starting today, we imitated more closely the God who makes all things new?
«Heavenly Father, You who ‘make roads in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,’ inspire in me the freshness of new ideas, new resolutions, new plans in such a marked way that the result will bring about revival and reformation in my life.
t. Robert H. Pierson, How to Become a Successful Christian Leader (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association. 1978), p. 144. Ibid p.149.