‘Cast off everything that hinders,’ says the writer to the Hebrews, talking about running the race of life.
I think most of us have given up making those big bold resolutions that we fail to keep, but maybe there are some little things we need to deal with if this is going to be a prosperous New Year.
Having enjoyed our trip, cream tea included, on the Gwili railway, we were looking across to the car park. The morning of real Welsh rain had at last given way to the sunshine, and we noticed a woman struggling out of her sensible waterproof over- trousers which had protected her from the deluge which had lasted most of that morning.
A few minutes later we saw she was still struggling. Evidently some friends, recognising them, had gathered round to chat. No problem with the trousers, - she had wriggled them as far down as her ankles, even as she was chatting. She would soon be out of them. Oh no, not without one moment, or maybe two, of concentration.
But we had to concentrate on finding our own bus for the journey home. I was left with this picture of this resourceful young woman, still struggling, and of course, still impeded, entangled with her waterproofs even though the sun was shining.
If only! If only what? Had an emergency arisen she might have fallen on her nose. She had needed to change her point of concentration for a brief minute to reach down her hand to pull off her unwanted garment, which was no longer of any use to keep her dry but now definitely a hindrance to future progress.
Is there anything which I need to shake off before stepping into this New Year? – something perhaps which at one time was necessary for my journey, but now is an encumbrance? I think the picture of that young woman at Gwili station is a warning to me that it isn’t so easy to cast off those unwanted entanglements without some help. And help is at hand, but we do have to ask for it.
Any of her friends would have momentarily taken her hand while she stood on one leg to shake off the garment. Or if only she could have stopped chatting,- again, only for a moment, she could have bent down to free herself.
Do you know how the verse goes on?
‘Cast off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles …….(and) fix your eyes on Jesus.’
He is holding out his hand to help us. We only have to ask – but we do have to ask.A prosperous New Year to us all.