By Cindy Williams
The day is all planned out: get to the gym, grab the groceries, put on the washing and sit down to write. Then the phone rings – a friend needs prayer or my mum wants to chat or the school sends my son home sick. I berate myself for not getting my writing done, or worse still I get irritated that I have to rush off to teach scripture class or that the women’s prayer group is taking too long. I have to write!
This has been my past week – the deadline for this post looming closer while my great idea on what to write flounders like a fish on the mud flats.
In desperation I flick through the photos of my recent ‘research’ trip to Israel and Samaria. One jumps out - a Roman milestone in the garden of the Tel Dor museum. I recall the words of Jesus: ‘If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.’ (Matt 5:41)
Milestones marked out every mile along the first century Roman roads. A Roman soldier could legally force a person to carry his pack for one mile. Imagine if you were on an urgent errand, had a field to plough or… a scroll to write. Suddenly you are forced to drop everything – so inconvenient, so annoying. And what does Jesus say; politely obey and get it over with quickly? No, he says go two miles!
It is not the forced first mile that sets us apart as followers of Jesus; it is the voluntary, purposeful second mile.
When the needs of others disrupt my plans and force me to stop writing it is not an inconvenience or a source of stress that I am not doing what I should be doing. No, it is an opportunity to show the radical, counter-cultural love of Jesus. It is exactly what I should be doing and just as, if not more, of a ministry than my writing. What freedom this change of perspective has brought to me this week.
Can anyone else relate?
About Cindy Williams
Her first novel, The Pounamu Prophecy, was short listed for the 2016 Caleb Prize.
She writes a blog - www.nutritionchic.com - stories of health, history, food and faraway places.
Cindy grew up in a culturally rich part of New Zealand, singing the songs and hearing the stories of Maori.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and son, writing stories of flawed women who battle injustice... and sometimes find romance.