One of my favorite old saws is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately for me, I didn’t heed the wisdom of that saying last Sunday.


I typically take a tried-and-true route to my preaching assignment in Amory, MS, north of here. Go up Highway 45A, exit on MS 41/US 278, cross Highway 45, and I’m at the front door of the church in one hour, five minutes. On the way home Sunday, though, I decided on a whim to take MS 25 out of Amory, knowing only that it went to Aberdeen. (I didn’t look at the map, right there in the door pocket.) Rather than listen to folk wisdom, I heard the poet: “I took the road less traveled by, and it has made all the difference.”


Yeah, it made a difference. It lengthened my time getting home, confused me, and taught me a lesson. 25 intersected US 45 as I expected, but I wasn’t exactly in Aberdeen. That town was north of me, but I wasn’t sure whether 25 continued that way or south, toward Columbus, MS. First I headed toward Aberdeen, following my best guess (I have a lousy sense of direction, and I still hadn’t looked at a map), but soon convinced myself I needed to go south. After traveling a bit, nothing felt right, so I finally pulled off and looked at the map. I saw that I needed to turn around, so I headed for Aberdeen and had to go through most of the town before I got to the MS 25 turn-off I was looking for.


The lesson? Change for change’s sake is only for those times when you have the luxury of fixing your mistake if the change turns out not to be so great. And if you’re contemplating a change, you ought to consult a resource (like a map, someone’s experience or a history text) before committing to a new course. Somebody is bound to have tried the very thing you’re thinking about, and you can benefit from their guidance.


On the other hand, there are times when a change in thinking and action is quite necessary:


  • when a crisis comes, and it’s the former behaviors and philosophies that have gotten us where we are;
  • when the traditions and “the way we’ve always done it” are contrary to the Gospel or the ideals of our land and benefit only a few in the church, the community or the nation;
  • when the rut we’re in feeds depression and despair, something new and fresh may be one key to beating the blues.


Otherwise, it if ain’t broke….


© 2009 Tom Cheatham


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The Connection      Pastor’s Post

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As the Deer      The Other Jesus

Mark Powell   

Getting There      Ellen Haroutunian

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Living Word by Word

Where the Wind   

Faith in Community   

When Grace Happens

Theophiliacs J. Stambaugh      Theophiliacs A. Hunt     

Everyday Liturgy

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The Painted Prayerbook     

Just Words

The Church Geek   

Breaking Fast on the Beach     

The Pocket Mardis

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