Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Being flexible

Good morning. This is a devotional for single adults from Parenting Solo, but the message also applies to single adults without children who may one day marry a single parent and be a step-parent. Feel Free to forward it to a friend.

Scripture: Matthew 12:6-8 (The Message) (Jesus said:) “There is more at stake here than religion. If you had any idea what this scripture means – ‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’ – you wouldn’t be nitpicking like this. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbaths; he’s in charge.”

Several years ago I was involved with a church that brought in a man to teach the pastors and leaders about keeping flexible schedules during office hours. The idea was that, as ministry leaders, we had to keep flexibility in our routines for people who needed us, whether for emotional or spiritual guidance. The idea was that if we kept our schedules too full, we wouldn’t have any time left for those poor lost souls who needed a little of our time.

I’ve always liked that kind of flexible routine. I like the idea of always having time for coffee with a friend, or perhaps a walk. Maybe that’s because I’m spontaneous and an Otter personality, always ready to flitter around and start new projects. I’m a people person at heart. Fixed schedules and routines aren’t my cup of tea. I think, too, that Jesus was a flexible kind of guy. When he met the woman at the well, he didn’t wait for his disciples to return, as was the custom with the Jews. He made time for her. He worked her into his busy schedule. He always seemed to have time for people, whether at a wedding feast, a dinner party at a tax collector’s or the healing of a child.

So how do we become flexible in our busy lifestyles? We have kids to raise, jobs to pursue, households to manage and lives to lead. How do we prioritize such flexibility? Are we to be flexible for just anyone? The answer, is yes, we must prioritize our schedules. We must know what’s important and what isn’t. Family and certain friends deserve our time whenever the need arises. Finances matter, too. Walking is free and coffee is cheap. (No lattes at my meetings.)

I was speaking with a pastor on our vacation about balancing ministry life with family life, and he shared a story with me. He told me he used to read his four boys bedtime stories, but occasionally he would get pastoral calls that needed his time. He would stop reading to care for one of his sheep. Later, he realized his mistake and set boundaries for phone calls during family time. He made appointments for the next day – over coffee. That way, his family got his time when they needed him, and his congregation got him when they needed him, during daytime hours. How can you add ministry flex time to your busy schedule?

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to always keep flex time in my daily schedule. Help me to make time for people who might need my time. Amen

Doug Mead

Parenting Solo

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Vol. 3, No. 83

This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/www.oneyearbibleonline.com/july.asp?version=51

No comments: