I am working through a fascinating devotional book called Live Dead. It’s not just a book, but a challenge to live differently. I strongly encourage you to purchase this book, and then take the Live Dead challenge. With the permission of the book’s editor, I am reproducing Day 22’s challenge.
Flexibility: God’s Music, Written In Three Flats by Bob McCulley
Some of the most dangerous times in our life and ministry are when we lock our dreams and hopes in concrete, when we become so focused on what we are planning to do that we cannot see what God is trying to do. One day, while serving among the Maasai people of East Africa, I was running late for an appointment to meet with the village elders in a place called Mbirikani, which was about an hour away from our home. The purpose of the meeting was to appeal for a site where we could build a church in that village. My planned departure was delayed and my wife, Murriell, tried to soothe my anxiety with the words, “God has everything under control.”
I drove my four-by-four vehicle quickly up the road and was making good time until I got a flat tire, which I hurriedly changed. A few minutes later, I had a second flat and again made a tire change that would make a pit crew proud. Deep in the bush and well off the road, I had a third flat tire, and my third and final spare had to be removed from the luggage rack. In the process of getting it off the roof, it rolled away from me and down the hill into a large clump of thorn brush. By the time I retrieved it, my clothes were torn and my face and arms were bleeding from multiple scratches.
As I was preparing to mount the third spare tire, a Morani, a Maasai warrior, came walking out of the forest and greeted me. I did not wish to have a conversation because I was dirty from changing the flats and was now very late for what I thought was a critical appointment. His greeting was congenial and correct, while mine was harsh and abrupt. But I had good reason: I was late, dirty, bleeding, and angry. His next words stopped me. He knew my name. He had heard me preach a few weeks before, and that morning on awakening had decided to go to town to find me and to ask me to help him receive Christ. He had set off before sunrise to walk about 15 miles to town to find me and only halfway there, had found me on the roadside. I stopped changing the tire, cleaned my hands, and got my Bible out. Soon we were sitting under a thorn tree, reading and praying together as he became a newborn follower of Jesus.
When we were done, he thanked me and disappeared back into the forest, and I sat in wonder of the way God schedules our lives. By then I knew I had been right on time for the only appointment God had scheduled for me that day. I had no spare tires left, so I finished mounting the third spare and turned the truck around and headed home. Days later, I learned that the meeting had been postponed until the following day and our appeal had been granted. The community had given us 10 acres of ground on which to develop the ministry.
Our plans and dreams are often far removed from what God has in mind for us, and a lack of flexibility may cause us to miss Him and to be broken in the missing.
Live Dead Challenge — Look for a way you can be flexible today. Anticipate an interruption and welcome it as an opportunity, an event God has scheduled for you — even if it makes you late or it means that something you planned does not happen. In the days to come, look for ways you can be flexible. In service opportunities down the road, commit to flexing — dying to your plan and schedule that you might live to the surprises God injects in your daily life.
You can order the Live Dead book and other resources by clicking here.
And, for those of you who live in or near Cedar Springs, join us for a series of messages and a free copy of Live Dead in February.