Taking Off And Putting On: A Lesson from Knitting Needles

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys are singing softly while I knit and our oldest reads.  He’s reading about a sea voyage where a ship is struck in two.  I’m certain there will be a heroic ending (because isn’t there always?!), but he’s biting his nails in anticipation.  I’m sure the sea shanties being sung are enlivening his imagination.

I slip one stitch off the needle and whisper softly and slowly.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account…”

This memorization thing is slow.

Another few stitches created.  And my mind wanders around the room and makes lists of what needs to stay and what needs to go.

We’ve been making changes slowly here at our house.

Slowly.

Doesn’t that seem to be the word?

As we sit and wait for God to provide the finances for our mission in France, we wait.  And we get rid of most of our earthly possessions to be ready.

It’s a slow process, this stripping away of things.

Peeling one layer back at a time.

We have pared back our kitchen to a few dishes, and four gadgets (our instant pot, a toaster, a crock pot, and a blender.)  Who knows how long we’ll still be here in the States?  It’s slow.  We’ve gotten rid of 95% of the baby clothes we had in storage in case another little one gets sent our way.

But there are so many more layers.  Our garage is an endless abyss, seemingly.

As we are in the midst of the slow and the wait, we continue to press on.  I’ve taken it upon myself to get rid of our possessions, to make us ready at the exact instant God provides the means for our family to begin our ministry in France.  It’s all I can do right now.  And I need to be doing something.

So I slip some more stitches onto the other needle.  Taking off and putting on.

It seems like an endless slow.  But as I look back at the scarf that I’m working on, I see how much progress I’ve made in the couple days I’ve worked on it.  Each stitch is a sacrifice from one needle and a gain on the other.  A laying down of a row and a picking up of the other.

Taking off and putting on.

And my mind slips to some passages of scripture about what I should be taking off and putting on.  I know there are about ten or so more passages at least, but these were the ones that came to mind.

Romans 13:12-14 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1 Corinthians 15:53-55 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”

Ephesians 4:20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” 

Today, you may not be getting rid of your earthly possessions, but I’m certain you’re laying something down and picking something else up.  Sometimes life can feel monotonous and the wait can be long.  Let’s you and I pick up the right things together.  Let’s put on Christ.

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