From the Rectory – July

Several years ago, the company that make Swan Vesta matches encouraged their employees to make suggestions that might improve their business. History doesn’t record how many different ideas they were presented with, or how truly dreadful the majority might have been. One however, ended up with a change to the business that had a significant financial impact.

Every box of Swan Vesta matches had a strip of sandpaper stuck to both sides of the box for the matches to be struck on. The ingenious member of staff asked why two were necessary – surely one would be enough.

The company agreed, reduced the number of sandpaper sides to one, and saved themselves tens of thousands of pounds a year in the process.

Questioning the accepted way of doing things will often yield unexpected results, and one small change can make an enormous difference.

From turning off the light when leaving a room, to showering instead of taking a bath, altering behaviour around the home has a direct impact on the energy consumed, and by extension the health of the planet. Swapping out ice cream for frozen yoghurt will have a positive impact on the waistline. Walking instead of driving short distances does the same, as well as reducing pollution.

When Jesus walked the earth, he had very little to say on diet, or motor vehicles of any sort for that matter. But speaking about change was a subject he came back to time and time again.

On one occasion, when he was speaking to crowds of people on a mountainside, Jesus asked them to think about the law they knew so well. The Ten Commandments were ancient laws that his listeners would have been very familiar with. He suggested changing the way that they looked at them, especially when it came to showing love.

‘You have heard it said love your neighbours and hate your enemies’, says Jesus. ‘But I say love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you.’

At a time when hate and mistrust and suspicion are so rife, showing God’s love to those who are unable to love us back can be hard. But it might just change the world.

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