Change in life is inevitable - but we don’t really like it. We are, in general, risk averse, afraid of loss and inhospitable to ideas that require great change in or around us. It is related to a phenomenon social scientists call endowment theory. We tend to assess the value of the things we already have at a higher - and sometimes extraordinarily so - rate than everyone else. When we go to sell our car, or a favorite chair, or an old iPod, we quickly discover that what we think it is worth much more than what anyone else thinks it is. What we already own is dear to us because it is ours. These possessions hold memories and fondness that give it greater value than it actually holds, and this is why we can’t let go. Surrender and change are deeply related.
For the first disciples (and all of us that have come after them) surrender to change was the first order of business. It was a call to drop nets, leave homes, and embrace vast and immediate change. It was a call to surrender all the things we overvalue. The first thing Jesus asks for is the surrender of the endowments of our lives. We then become a community founded on the concept of repentance, a concept that is truly about radical change. Repentance's change is a moral change of direction, but it's related to so much more. With repentance and surrender at the core of our lives, how can we expect change not to characterize all we do? It is the single constant in the life pattern of a follower. Many of us are in transition right now (a euphemism for total upheaval), and the rest of us likely will be soon. This is just what Jesus does.
Following him means surrender to a life of change.
Stability, certainty, and predictability simply are not promised in the Kingdom. As a kid, I was always rearranging the furniture in my room. While we may not always love it, we need change. Even the same elements rearranged will bring new insight, vitality and wonder to a stagnating life. Change itself is holy. Look at the growth of a child, or a flower, or the development of our souls. We grow only when we are changing. Change is synonymous with life.
I am not saying that change (like growth) is not painful - often it is. It can be a real and serious sacrifice to surrender the patterns, habits, and even relationships in our lives. But the deepest reality behind the questions and experience of change is God himself. You see, we do not need to manufacture artificial stability, security, and consistency in our lives because God promises to be that for us. It is not that stability is bad; it is just something that we should find in our relationship with God. Surrendering imposter gods, and the consistency they promise, is necessary for the discovery of the only thing in this world that is truly always the same, Jesus Christ. We can embrace change and surrender to his call no matter what it is and what it costs us because we get our sense of security and constancy from Him. In an inevitable sea of change that we all find ourselves floating in, there is this stabilizing truth:
Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Everything else though, is fair game.