Relax. Be Flexible. I’ll Check on It.
This was my husband’s philosophy of ministry.
Profound in its simplicity, many others have adopted the three admonitions, both seriously or with a touch of humor.
But I’ve been thinking. This is MORE THAN a ministry philosophy — this is a life philosophy because so often in life we react and respond sending explosive words into space, never to be retrieved.
Shortly after Ken died, I attended a Folk Art Festival. I have a rule (not a non-breakable rule, but a RULE) that I don’t buy pictures for my wall unless that picture is created by a family or friend or has a special meaning. But as I was wandering through the festival hall that day, I saw a sampler that resonated with me and my situation as a new widow. I purchased it. Someone (or some machine) had stitched in “let’s-make-this-look-old” letters: “Good morning! This is the Lord … I’ll be taking care of your problems today and don’t need your help. So relax and have a great day!”
Now, in one way we can look at that and think, “rather cliche,” but isn’t following this guideline exactly what we are supposed to be doing? Our desire should be “relax” in God’s will. He is reaching out to us with compassion, gentleness, kindness, omniscience, and peace, giving us the ability to relax in the day’s situation.
Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Let’s face it, we live in a messed-up world. People are killing people, parents are abusing children, the human race is lost in a web of lies, immorality, and wickedness that attacks every part of life. Yet, God tells us that this is light momentary affliction compared to glory.
You know what that means? We can relax.
Life changes. Rapidly.
In little things.
In not-so-little things.
In hard things.
Most of the time, our human hearts and minds don’t like those unexpected changes. But duh! That’s life and those changes will happen.
Why are we so surprised when they do? We know we don’t live in a perfect world. We know we live in a world with accidents, unfaithfulness, sickness …
The Bible tells us in more than one place not to worry about tomorrow.
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring (Proverbs 27:1)
We know that. We believe that (well, sort of we believe it). Living it is more difficult.
But whether it’s flexibility in the little things, the not-so-little things, or the hard things, we need to remember it.
I’LL CHECK ON IT.
In other words, don’t be so quick to react.
But reaction is our natural response.
Someone says something (and isn’t this so true in our world today?) and immediately others give their opinion … opinions that really mean nothing because the reactor (often) doesn’t even know the person who first made the statement.
Someone does something and immediately we figure we know all the facts, often being annoying in our accusations or assumptions.
Something happens in our life and immediately we go to the worst-case scenario and we panic, and we stay up all night thinking of all the possible results.
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:26, 27, 30, 31)
Instead of reacting, maybe we could back off, talk to the Lord about it, read what He says in His Word … and check it out before we come apart at the proverbial seams.
Ken was smart. He developed a good philosophy —
In ministry and in life.
I’LL CHECK ON IT.
So, let’s do it!