I pressed “publish” on my post yesterday and closed the computer like I was checking something off my to do list. But sometimes a check mark isn’t the end. My brain tends to run a little (just in case you haven’t figured that out yet).
While I was looking for a picture to depict “flow” yesterday I looked up wind. And what to my wandering eye should appear but images of windmills. Some more modern than this one. You know the big sleek steel mills that stand in rows in fields to generate electricity. And some less modern than this one – think big Dutch mills with the long arms also used to generate power. So why did I choose this one?
Check out the tail fin on this mill. The purpose was to turn the whole top section of the mill so that it would catch maximum air. Catching maximum flow meant that the blades would turn faster and generate more power. I also think of this particular style of mill when it comes to water. I’m not sure why. Maybe once upon a time maybe I saw a movie in which this powered a water pump. I think maybe it was Australia – but don’t quote me on that. In any case, the power of the mill kept water flowing which we all know is essential to life from animals to crops to people.
Acts 2:1 & 2
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Stick with me. We know by reading the rest of Acts 2 that this was the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in John 14 that the Helper would come and what an entrance!
I love that the disciples were all together when this happened. Quite a period of time had passed from the Ascension until Pentecost but they were all still together. You would almost think they were waiting for a wind to come turn their tail fin in the direction they needed to face for maximum flow. If I drop myself into their place, I have just spent the last 40 days asking myself and my closest friends, “Well, now what? What should we do with what we know? Do you think it’s safe yet? Have the Pharisees moved on to their next target?” I imagine that I would feel pretty powerless and lost. Perhaps a still mill waiting for direction and power.
My favorite part is the “violent rushing wind.” First and foremost, the noise would get your attention. You can’t ignore that. Secondly, you can feel a change coming. And not a slight angle adjustment either. A move like that turns you around and quickly. Finally, the Power starts to flow! Acts 2 goes on to describe the tongues of fire that allowed the disciples to speak in many languages. Then Peter stands up and preaches the second greatest sermon ever (don’t forget the Sermon on the Mount, people!) and has an altar call that changes history – literally.
From that outpouring of the Spirit, a flow of God’s love took off. The disciples went out into the world giving life. Saul became Paul and started planting churches. Generations later Christians are proof that life flowed from that place with that Wind.
But what happens if we stop? What happens if we don’t turn into the wind and embrace the power? What happens if the Spirit urges us to sit down and have coffee with someone and we decide we are too busy that day? Or what if we churn our power out in a direction that no longer needs our power? There is such a thing as too much water – I just drowned some seedlings this week as proof. There comes a time when we have to stop serving in one place so that we can let those individuals grow, or to make room for someone else to serve.
It’s what I love about the windmill. The wind that is blowing from the west today, could blow from the southwest tomorrow. And the mill still works and is still effective. Sometimes a change of direction is a good thing.
Today’s encouragement: Heed the Spirit’s leading. Perhaps there is more power in your new direction.