Saturdays in the summer on the Outer Banks are known as “change-over day.” This is the day when the vast majority of our beach rentals change renters. Ten o’clock AM is check out time, and the cleaners, inspectors and rental agents work like mad to get the cottages ready for the next wave of guests. Three o’clock PM is check in time, when thousands of visitors descend upon our islands like a happy plague of burnt out locusts who have waited all year long for this one week of paradise.
Because of the relatively short time between check out and check in, the folks who live and work here become trapped in the frenetic energy of the migration of people in and out. The traffic rivals New York City on a good day, the bridges are stop and go, and the bypass becomes its own circle of hell. And I mean that in a purely Dante-esk, theological way. See, if you’re a pastor and you mention hell, it ain’t cussin’. It’s theology.
We are extremely grateful for this chaos, as it means prosperity for our locals. Tourism is our strongest economy, with construction a distant second. We depend on our visitors, cherish the choice they make to come to the Outer Banks, and rely on the influx of income. Still, having said that, change-over day is a significant challenge.
Did you know that with Jesus, every day is change-over day?
Ephesians 4:22-24 The Message (MSG)
20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
This scripture accurately describes change as a process of being renewed from the inside, which then works its way outside in your conduct. God is the agent of change, and your metamorphosis is one where his character is being reproduced in you.
To realize that to submit to God’s molding and making of you will result in his character being reproduced in you is daunting. After all, God is the author of unconditional love, generous giving, whole-life sacrifice, and peace making. That’s a lot of character change for most of us.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be immediate. It won’t be overwhelming. Discipleship is a life long marathon of getting up every morning and putting your Jesus shoes on, one foot at a time. There is no sprint involved here, but a patient, every day kind of progression where each day you look a little more like Jesus and a little less like you.
This is why I believe that daily devotionals are so important. We need to fuel ourselves for this journey by feasting on God’s Daily Bread every day.
We locals like to complain a lot about change-over day, and we love to share stories (“It took me five hours to get to the Publix, and it’s only 3 miles from my house!! And when I got there, the aisles were all blocked by families of nine who were arguing over what cereal and brand of mayonnaise to buy!”) Yeah, we get it.
But in the end, visitors finally reach their beautiful destinations, locals make it back home, and eventually we all get where we are going.
Where are you going? How is your discipleship journey coming along? Stuck on a bridge somewhere? Don’t give up. You see, the one thing about this change that you are being called to make is that Christ is on the bypass with you. And the good news about Jesus is that he promised to be with you always, and he NEVER changes.
Photo by Tammy Ball-Olving.