There are many things in life that are completely counter-intuitive. That is, the most natural and obvious thing to do is sometimes exactly what you shouldn’t do. I saw a dramatic example of this on Air Crash Investigations where a plane inexplicably nose-dived and crash landed killing all on board. After examining the flight recorder, the investigators found that the pilots had reacted to the plane’s slight drop in altitude by pulling the plane’s nose up to correct the drop in altitude. But due to an anomaly in weather conditions, the plane didn’t respond as expected and continued to lose altitude. So the pilots pulled back on their control columns even harder to quickly correct the drop in altitude. This action, however, caused the even greater loss of altitude which resulted in the tragedy. Investigators concluded that in such conditions, the pilots should have responded counter-intuitively by pointing the nose down to regain control of the aircraft before attempting to increase its altitude. Another counter-intuitive example came from Dr. Fazale Rana, a biochemist, who presented at Legana several years ago and shared how a dam had been formed in South America which in several islands being formed. The native wildlife managed to take refuge on these islands but conservationists were concerned that on one of the islands predators also took refuge and would soon wipe out the other animals on the island. Counter-intuitively though, the island with no predators soon saw its wildlife die out, whereas the island with predators saw its wildlife flourish! Adversity may well be one of the most counter-intuitive factors operating in our world for our good!
A couple of months ago, a young man was invited to our church. He was not a church goer. But the day that he turned up in our weekly Sunday morning worship service something happened to him. Although English was not his first language, and despite coming from a culture that is famously opposed to Christianity, he heard and understood clearly enough that day – and despite what he had been told all his life – that there was a God in Heaven who loved him and had been directing him throughout his life to this moment. In response to this work of the Holy Spirit he declared his surrender to Christ and was subsequently baptised in our June water baptism service. From that point, each time someone asked him how he had come to Christ, his eyes would water and he would get emotional just at the thought of how Christ had saved him. But all of this could have been derailed if it hadn’t been for the warm welcome, love, and acceptance he found in our church when he first came. It’s the stories like these that make me proud to be the pastor of our church!
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
We live in apple orchard country which is why most of us understand what’s involved in harvesting them. Each mature apple tree has low hanging fruit which is the easiest to harvest. The rest of the tree involves a bit more work to harvest – especially the high hanging fruit. In some respects, the above story is an example of harvesting ‘low hanging fruit’. The idea of harvesting an apple true is a great way to illustrate how our church can become a church that wins.