Summary: This series aims to narrow the gap between scriptural instruction and our day-to-day challenges.
Faith is Flexibility
Tuff Stuff Series - #4
Gages Lake Bible Church
August 20th, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
If you’re a fan of baseball, you’ll know what a utility guy is. He’s the guy who is never the star player. He never leads the team in home runs. He is usually a guy who bounces from team to team and is a mid-level type player who makes an average salary.
But a utility infielder is probably one of the most valuable guys on a team. He usually can play just about any position. So with this guy on his team, the manager has a lot of flexibility in setting his lineup.
My favorite utility guy was a guy by the name of Steve Lyons. He played for the White Sox in the late 80’s and 90’s. Steve Lyons wasn’t that great at any one position, but he could play every position. If the first basemen needed a day off, Steve played first. If the third baseman got injured, Steve played third. If the manager wanted a left-hander in his lineup, Steve could play an outfield position. He could come in the late innings and be a defensive replacement.
Steve Lyons actually pitched a few games. That’s how flexible he is.
Last year, the Cubs had a great guy in their lineup that was similar. His name was Mark Derosa. And this year they thought they could get by without him and traded him to Cleveland. He eventually ended up with St. Louis. Well, you know how the Cubs are doing this year. Maybe they needed that.
Flexibility is one of the most important attributes of faith.
Well, tonight we’re talking about one of the most important, but often overlooked attributes of the Christian faith. You don’t hear a lot of sermons on it. You don’t hear people speak of it as a great Christian virtue.
But flexibility—the ability to adjust your life and your plans—to people and circumstances—is an important trait. But it’s also the most difficult to cultivate, because it involves giving up a lot of ourselves and serving others.
What is Flexibility?
What is flexibility? Is flexibility the same as weakness? Is flexibility mean you never tell anyone no or that you are always at the beck and call of someone else’s whims? Does it mean you never, ever stand up for yourself?
No, I don’t believe so. I believe the Christian life is all about balance. But a good many of us could use a good solid lesson in flexibility. I would add to the unity of this church. It would make you a better family member. It will make you a better coworker.
Flexibility is Surrender
The root of flexibility is surrender. It’s surrendering our will to the will of the Father.
Often we think of surrender as that one-time altar call where we lay ourselves before the Lord and commit to serving Him. And that’s true, that’s effective, and that’s important.
I’ve done that in my life. But that’s easy compared to daily surrender. Let me give you a for instance.
This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way even as I’ve assumed this pastorate. Every week I have an idea of the work I need to get done. I have messages to prepare, people to visit, and church business to take care of.
It’s funny, I’ve had some large church pastors kind of mock me and say, “Hey, you’re a small-church pastor. You must have nothing to do.” I want to say to them, “Hey, you’ve got a large staff of people waiting to bring you a glass of water.” I’m the only guy here. Not that I’m complaining, because we’ve got some of the best volunteer people here that I’ve ever seen in any church. I mean that.
But every week I have certain tasks to complete. But inevitably the phone will ring and it will be someone in the hospital. Or someone with a spiritual problem. Or someone with a complaint that deserves my attention. Or something happens at home with one of the children.
Now I have to be honest with you. I’ve had to really learn to put aside my plans and take care of things. This is part of surrender. And it really begins with us submitting our plans, our day’s work, our schedules to the will of God.
We read in Isaiah: For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV)
We also have to have flexibility in our larger plans. When I came to this church as a young newly-ordained preacher, I had a 5-year plan with bullet-point lists of things I needed to do.