Eggs of the American robin
Photo by Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA-3.0

Is there a colour more exquisite than robin’s-egg blue? If there is, I’m not aware of it.

To me, the tiny oval of a robin’s egg is perfection itself. Its soft blue-green hue seems to evoke a feeling of serenity. And the shape of the egg itself, all gentle curves, seems to echo this calmness.

I’d love to keep it that way forever, just so, and never see it broken.

There’s only one problem with this: if the egg stayed intact, a baby robin would never be born.

Sometimes we have to break something we cherish for an even more beautiful thing to come into being.

It’s sometimes the same with our lives. We want our lives to unfold on our terms, “just so,” exactly the way we want. We don’t want anything about them to change, these beautiful shells protecting our carefully constructed lifestyles.

But then one day God puts something on our heart: a desire to reach out to the lost, an impulse to minister to the needy, a hunger to right an injustice. We’d like to serve God, and yet we’d really prefer to keep our nice lifestyle intact, thank you very much.

We might try to ignore God’s call for a while, but it will niggle away at us. A little crack will appear in our shell. We’ll develop a growing feeling of unease and dissatisfaction that won’t go away until we bring our lives in line with God’s will.

When we obey God’s call, we might find that some things in our lives have to “break.” We might have to sacrifice elements of our lifestyle or our expectations of what our lives should look like. Our perfect schedule might get disrupted; we might have to deal with messy situations. We may have to travel to places and encounter people that were never part of our plan.

But through this breaking something is being birthed that will have eternal consequences: people are being reached with the gospel, the “good news” of redemption offered through Jesus Christ.

A fully grown American robin
Photo by tdfugere on Pixabay

Think of James and John in the New Testament. These men were brothers, the sons of a man named Zebedee. They worked for their father’s thriving fishing business. Zebedee probably expected them to continue in the family business for the rest of their lives.

But then Jesus came along. His invitation to these brothers to become His disciples is recorded in Matthew 4:21-22:

“Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”

When Jesus called James and John, their whole lives were disrupted. They had to break their normal routine of fishing, break with their father’s expectations of them, and break with the only life they’d ever known. In order to experience something out of the ordinary, they had to break out of their shells and leave their old lives behind.

But what arose from those broken shells has impacted the world for millennia. God transformed these two fishermen into something they couldn’t have imagined: James and John became two of Jesus’ twelve apostles.

These brothers had the immense privilege of walking with Jesus and spreading the gospel in Christianity’s infancy. Countless millions have read about their lives and been changed by their words. James became the first apostle to be martyred. John became known as the apostle of love: more writings have been attributed to him than to any of the other disciples.

If we allow our tidy, “just so” lives to be put at God’s disposal, we might have to sacrifice some things, but it will allow something even more beautiful to arise.

Be brave: break out of your shell and do something wonderful for God!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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