Being Disciples – Being Flexible

As I write this, I am in the midst of ministerial candidate interviews at Lakeshore. It is intensive work, and important work. I don’t think anyone would deny that such work is important to the life of the Church and the Kingdom of God. So important and draining it is, that I think it’s worth taking a week off from work. I know that even God took a day off and called it holy.

I also know that “life happens.” This morning, I received the word that George Thompson died. My first response was to pray for Mildred and her family. My second thought was that my plans for this week were about to change.

If you are like me, you are a planner. I think about what needs to be done each day, I think about preparations for future events. I have a routine during the week that includes household chores. As a rule, I take Thursdays off. If I worked 12-14 hours on one day, I will be certain to take some extra time off the next day. The Holy Spirit never outright rejects good planning.

However… just because you make plans doesn’t mean they are not subject to change, or that they are in concert with God’s Will! Just like our time doesn’t always run with God’s time, our plans do not always mesh with God’s plans. When that happens, we need to be flexible. Not just pastors… all of us.

People who lose loved ones usually don’t plan on the day and date of that happening. Most people don’t plan the day when they are laid off or lose their jobs. And no one checks their calendar to see when it will be convenient for their children to be involved in a car accident.

When these things happen, instead of being irritated and frustrated, let us ask God to help us to be flexible. Those who are hurting don’t need our frustration – they need our love and care. In addition to asking God to help us be compassionate and aware of the needs of those around us, let us also dare to pray that we might be flexible to His will.



I think your message here is one of the most important one that pastors need to learn early in their ministry. I am a "get things done" kind of guy, and that means that I like my daily calendar, my 'to do' lists, and my schedule. But ministry isn't always conducive to either that kind of personality and those kind of habits. And that's a good thing! It isn't easy to let the Holy Spirit trump my best laid plans (and sometimes I unwisely force my own will). But it is a part of learning humility, and in that sense it is one of the most necessary pastoral practices.