The Spur

What do you imagine? A better job, a better house, more money, perhaps a vacation in the South Pacific? We all let our imagination run away with us from time to time. Some of our greatest inventions and highest achievements are the result of someone's imagination soaring to impossible heights. Some of our greatest failures and basest sins are the result of the same. It all depends on where we allow our imagination to take us.

Being a Christian takes a lot of imagination. The writers of the Bible continually call us to use it. For instance, the Prophet Isaiah encouraged the people of his day to "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name" (Isaiah 40:26).

?I just want to go home.? The young woman's voice quavered with frustration, anger and fear. Her companion smiled. ?I am home,? she said. ?Home is inside me.?

The two women were among thousands grounded in a small airport in Newfoundland on September 11, 2001. They were sleeping on pews in a Salvation Army chapel, eating hastily prepared soup and sandwiches and drinking coffee out of disposable cups. Their schedules had been interrupted and for some time they didn't even know why. They had no idea when they would be able to resume their journey. But Jill Briscoe was smiling. She'd noticed the beautiful young woman and had felt the Spirit nudging her to connect with her. But when she tried to get close enough to strike up a conversation . . .

In his wonderful devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers says - "Narrow all your interests until the attitude of mind and heart and body is concentration on Jesus Christ."

This makes me just a little bit uncomfortable. It makes me picture a doleful monk or severe nun, doing nothing but fasting and praying all day. I don't think that's what Oswald Chambers, or the Lord, intend. We are meant to live in this world, and live well. Living well means doing what Mr. Chambers says - have only one focus and that is to know and glorify Christ. Do that through all the other aspects and potential distractions of life, and you will live well indeed.

Easy to say. Not so easy to do. We don't want to ?narrow all our interests,? we want to live life to its limit, experience it all. But often, when we're out

It happened in the kitchen. I was chatting with a friend while preparing supper. He'd stopped in unexpectedly so I was "adding a potato to the pot," so to speak. As I made trips back and forth between the stove and the fridge, I noticed our friend's eyes kept returning to one spot ? the door of the refrigerator. My children were quite young at this time, so that door was covered with a jumble of magnetic numbers and letters. As my friend and I chatted, he slowly made his way toward it. Without skipping a beat in the conversation, he began arranging the magnets. It wasn't until my husband called him into the living room that I realized he had put all the numbers and letters in order, except for the x, y and z. They were hiding on the side of the fridge.

Order is important to us. We function best when things are in place. But sometimes the need to control our environment can go to extremes. Like my friend who could not stand to see that jumble of letters and numbers on my fridge, we demand that things be put right. But sometimes it's the chaos that suits God's purposes. Sometimes God has to . . .

I was reading a newspaper the other day and noticed something interesting. A fairly well-known ministry has just changed how it refers to itself in advertising. Its full name is no longer apparent. Instead, the logo is enlarged and an anagram prominent. The name is there only in very small print. Hmmm. I wondered why. Is there something attached to the name that the organization no longer wants identified with them? Are they trying to move away from a previous public perception of their ministry? Are they just trying to publicize a new image, or are they trying to hide something?

I notice a number of well-known fast-food restaurants are doing the same thing. One in particular caught my attention because it is quite obvious they are trying desperately to improve their image. There's a word in their name that doesn't sit well with health- conscious consumers these days. Their food doesn't sit very well in the stomach either and I suspect that's why they've switched to the anagram. It is no doubt a lot less expensive to change their name than to change their product. I suppose they hope that eventually the public will forget what the initials stand for. They're hoping to cover their sins instead of getting rid of them.