I Think I Have Left the Plantation

We all have heard the statement, “I did not leave, they left me.” Many times in years gone by people have made this statement in the light of changes made ‘on the plantation’ and when the changes are seemingly too difficult to live with some will leave. This is that moment when it is just better to get off the plantation because no more will certain individuals effectively change themselves.

And then leadership began to observe the loss of some good people in important places. Leadership began to use new terminology calling these ‘changes’ paradigm shifts. Same thing, but with a new identity. The changes were still there, the colors changed, the temperature changed, the lighting changed, the doors were moved, new decor replaced the old, but this was all done in order to install new paradigms. Paradigm Shifting is another word for lying. The Frog remains in the pot full of water sitting over the flame and the frog will die because the heat becomes too much. Paradigm Shift? No, everything changed in spite of promises made. This is no change, just a paradigm shift.  Lies kill.

Recalling the long history of the Hebrews look at their enslavement in Egypt. In total the people of God were enslaved approximately 400 years when Moses came along and was able to gain their freedom. The Pharaoh played with the Hebrews for a while telling them that things would get better for them if they did ‘this, that or the other.’ Not true, their lives became unbearable and God stepped in with Moses, and when Moses pushed back against the ‘paradigm shifts’ God said, “No more, ‘Let My people go.’

The paradigm shifts were lies intended to cause the Hebrews to work more diligently for the ‘Company Store,’ but that failed and Moses left the plantation standing against the bosses with the rod of God. God did not use ‘paradigm shifts’ to explain to the Pharaoh that he should allow the Hebrews to leave, and the Pharaoh failed to understand God does not use lies or paradigm shifts, He only speaks truth and His truth set the Hebrews free.

Fast forward to the life of Christ and pick up with John Mark, the inspired author of the Gospel of Mark. Evidence seems to point out that the Gospel of Mark is the New Testament narrative that breaks the 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New even though the Voice of God in the Person of Jesus Christ actually ‘tore the curtain’ of silence. No doubt, Mark was most likely a frequent observer of Jesus and His disciples, “A young man was following him, wearing only a linen cloth. They tried to arrest him, but he ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth behind.” Mark 14:51-52 NET2. Only the Gospel of Mark mentions this incident occurring in the moment of Jesus’ arrest in the Garden. Many scholars seem to think this young man may have been Mark. At any rate, everyone abandoned Jesus when He was arrested. This was no paradigm shift, this was a significant change in the history of mankind.

John Mark was the nephew of Barnabas who was leader of the Apostles and of Paul. Barnabas and Paul had a schism in their relationship and separated. In short, Mark became a student of Peter and Paul then mentored Timothy. Some time later Paul took Mark alongside and mentions that he “is useful to me” in his letter second letter to Timothy, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you because he is a great help to me in ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11. Paul was in Roman custody when he penned 2 Timothy.

No paradigm shift, but radical changes had taken place by the time John Mark had written his Gospel Narrative, but his words are absolutely God’s Truth. Therefore, it is best to use the definition of Webster’s Dictionary to help my explanation: “EXAMPLE, PATTERN: an outstandingly clear or typical example of the original model are taken.”

Changes or paradigm shifts oftentimes cause extreme trauma in the lives of those who will be directly affected. And what I do know for certain is simple: sometimes these paradigm shifts happen suddenly and without warning OR they are very subtle and a new platform is presented over time. At any rate, a decision must be made and this decision will most likely be best for everyone. To leave the Plantation is in order; physically, if not emotionally and otherwise.

The Plantation I am leaving has changed over time, but the fact is the changes made are causing and have caused a great deal of stress and pain for many who have been around a very long time. But what I do know is this, the Truth upon which the archetype is constructed has not changed. I have chosen to follow the Truth and there is but one truth. 

It must be known sometimes physical separation is not possible, but my heart and soul are no longer present. Those around me have noticed this and is okay with me even though my emotions and thoughts are not ‘with the program’ in everything. Too much water has passed under that bridge and I am now on the other side. My heart is torn and broken, but just as Paul said, neither am I ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for, “He is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus before time began,  but now made visible through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus. He has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!  For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher. Because of this, in fact, I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed because I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day. Hold to the standard of sound words that you heard from me and do so with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Protect that good thing entrusted to you, through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.” 2 Timothy 1:9-14.

The Plantation of which I speak is NOT the Church for I could not leave for I am kept by the grace of God and cannot deny Him. What I encountered over many years of serving the Lord is all sorts of trials and tribulations have passed my way and many strange and odd characters I have encountered face to face. There have been words exchanged, yes, difficult words challenging my faith in the Glorious Savior, the Son of God the Risen Lord of all things past and present. No, I have not faced lions or physical death that I am aware of, but I did discover later these could have been my lot. Disputes are now present; disputes that have changed the philosophical landscape upon which I labored for more than 50 years. These disputes have caused me to emotionally sever my place on the Plantation and I have left for there is no longer a place for me at that table of service. 

Please do not feel sorry for me for I am okay, but presently disappointed for my place in Eternity is soundly secured by the blood of Jesus Christ my Savior and Lord. Will the Plantation I have know for so long remain? Yes, for a while longer I am certain. However, there cannot be two Truths for only one of them will survive. One is True to the Word of God, but the other is not. My fear is simple: the paradigm shift that is being pursued is a lie and this lie that has changed everything. 

However, Jesus remains Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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