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Jessie’s Corner
Becky Gillette
Becky Gillette

That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” Acts 16:9 (The Message)

It seems like, lately, every time I make a plan, a list, or an agenda, something comes along so that I end up tearing up the detailed plans that I had worked so hard to develop. I have time to work in my yard on Saturday and I get the dirt, plants, and lawn mower ready to start early — and we have a snowstorm in April!

I get off early from work so that I can finally vacuum and dust, and I get a call from a close friend who needs help. I end up spending the day with her and my house greets me when I get home with sad eyes and cobwebs.

I think that someone is telling me that a clean house and a well-manicured lawn are not as important as other things. The day of the snowstorm was spent playing and napping with my cats and was much more relaxing for me. The day with my friend was needed also. We had some good conversations and connected in deeper ways.

The early Christians were in a similar fix. Because Jesus was Jewish, Christianity started with the Jews. Over the centuries, the Jews had developed lists of rules over every aspect of their lives. They had lived with these for so long, they didn’t even think twice! These rules were hard-coded into their genetic makeup.

Jesus comes along and starts spending time with the “lawless” Gentiles—people who tended to make up the rules as they went along and had no lists. Many of the Jews were horrified to think of all the traditions and agendas that Jesus was overlooking when he spoke to criminals, ate with tax collectors, and healed non-Jews.

The apostles followed the example Jesus had set them. They started preaching in the temples and synagogues; but the religious leaders chased them out because they weren’t following the schedule. This is where we see the quality of people that Jesus called. You can’t keep a good man (or woman) down and when these early Christians were kicked out of the Jewish gathering places, the new Christians talked to whoever would listen.

Naturally, there was a big dispute in the Council of Jerusalem (the group of people who were trying to govern this new religion).  There were so many non-Jewish people starting to follow the teachings of Jesus that a decision had to be made as to how (and if) they would be allowed to join.

The great thing about Paul is that he paid more attention to what God told him than to what people expected. He went wherever people would listen to him. When he had the dream about Macedonia, he went and set up a church in a whole new area. Sometimes you just have to keep talking and trust that it will all work out!

Becky Gillette is a former teacher, newspaper reporter, and preacher who seeks to take an original approach to life’s lessons. She has recently published her first book, Jessie’s Corner: Something To Think About, which is now available for purchase. Based on several lesser-known scriptures from the Bible, this is a collection of articles which she wrote for a weekly newspaper.