March 8, 2015

How flexible are you?

How does it affect you when things don’t go quite according to schedule?

When we went to Ukraine we had to be flexible.  Plans for the day could change—and many times did change—at the very last minute.  We did our best to work with whatever schedule we could get, for we knew we were there as guests.  As the camp officials saw the good that was done, they would do what they could to work with us as well, knowing how much our lessons and relationships helped the children and the staff at camp.  But it did get a little crazy sometimes.

I’m a routine kind of guy.  I like to know what I need to do during the day or week ahead, and then have the time and opportunity to accomplish that.  And that’s probably a good thing.

They (whoever “they” are) say that “the tyranny of preaching is that Sunday comes every seven days.”  What that means is, it’s probably a good thing that I’m okay with routine and schedules.  Even before I’ve preached this week’s sermon, I’m already thinking about next week’s, and usually have the outline started.  Because Sunday comes every seven days—ready or not!!

Every preacher—well, the truthful ones anyway—will tell you that there are some weeks where things just don’t come together as well or as easily in sermon preparation as they do in other weeks.  And it’s those weeks where the good Lord likely hears some, um, unusual prayers.  Like for a weather incident that cancels church services on Sunday!  Flexible!

This week, we get another shot at being flexible.  We “get” to lose an hour of sleep, as Daylight Savings Time hits again.  That’s a scheduled event, true.  But I would say it’s anything but routine.  Flexible.

So hopefully you’ll be able to make the needed adjustments.

Like making up your contribution this week that you didn’t have the chance to put in the plate last Sunday!

And moving your clock ahead one hour this Saturday night so that you’re here on time and bright and cheery for Bible class at 9:00 Sunday morning!  Flexible.

And our schedule is a bit unusual as we begin our new adult Bible class quarter.  You can see the details inside the Family Page.  Flexible!!

There are only three times in the gospels where the story is told of Jesus raising someone from the dead.  Only three!

And in a sense, all three were interruptions, demonstrating our Lord’s flexibility.

  • Jesus healing the daughter of the Jairus was delayed by a woman who stopped Him because she believed that if she could only touch “the hem of his garment” she would be healed.  And she was, physically and spiritually.
  • The incident involving the widow from Nain and her son actually was an interruption, as Jesus noticed the funeral procession and walked up to the casket and restored the life of this woman’s son.
  • In the case of Lazarus and his sisters, friends of Jesus, the Lord dealt with other things rather than go to him when he was sick.  By the time Jesus arrived he had been dead four days.

One of Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do—the study I’ll begin in the New Classroom March 15th—relates here.  “They don’t focus on things they can’t control.”  She says not doing that—and instead being flexible—has its benefits, including less stress, better relationships, and increased happiness.

These resurrection stories of the Lord indicate that what we might see as interruptions requiring some flexibility may very well be part of a bigger plan, a different schedule, of which we may just not quite be all that aware.

Be flexible!

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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