Have you ever tried to do the splits? Maybe your mind goes back to your much younger years when you could do them with ease. Perhaps you’re thinking, “I can’t even touch my toes!” Several reputable fitness websites indicate that, even in later years, achieving significant flexibility is possible once again (or for the very first time)! With periods of daily stretching lasting about 30 minutes each, in a few months’ time, muscles can be trained to that of gymnast level flexibility (for more information see livestrong.com). It only requires time, stretching, and patience.
When it comes to our involvement in the kingdom, the places we most often find ourselves serving are where our talents lie. We know we can be successful (because we’re good at it) and it’s a place where we feel comfortable. We should absolutely be good stewards of our God-given abilities and resources – using them to serve others and bring glory to the Father. However, what if my particular talent isn’t what is needed and useful at any given time? In the context of Matthew 25, Jesus lists the ways we serve Him by serving others (Matt. 25:35-36). It’s worth noting that when someone is hungry, thirsty, naked, etc. their need is fulfilled with what is required: food, drink, clothing, etc. Not one of us, when approached with by a person asking for a drink of water would say, “Sorry, that’s not my talent!” yet we do that in so many other areas of service. There are always ways that we can grow in our usefulness in the kingdom, and often, time, stretching, and patience are all that is required.
Consider these practical ways to help improve your spiritual flexibility!
A person may be born with superior athletic ability or an ear with perfect pitch, but the vast majority of talents don’t just fall from the sky. They have to be learned and cultivated. Perhaps someone approaches you with a need, and the fulfillment of it takes you out of your comfort zone. What a great opportunity for growth! Resolve to do it anyway and set a time period (a month, six weeks, etc.) that you’re committed to working on it. Pray. Pray for wisdom, for opportunity, and for courage.
You’ve committed to a time period, now comes the action. So, you’ve determined to stretch yourself to become better at visiting the sick. Find someone you know who already excels in this area and go with them as often as you can. Ask that person with the impeccable bedside manor how they always know just the right thing to say. Let your creativity shine. If art is your forte, create pieces to distribute on your visits. This brings a bit of comfort into the uncomfortable. Keep the excuses at bay. God can use you just like He used Moses (Exodus 3:11ff). Pray. Pray for wisdom, for opportunity, and for courage.
A student often has to put time and effort into studying a particular subject before they realize their love for it. You may not enjoy visiting the first, second, or tenth time that you do it. Stick with it. Honor your time commitment and fulfill needs as they arise. You may not feel like you’re doing a very good job, but it’s not about you anyway. The focus must always remain on serving other’s so that God receives the glory. Chances are, you brought joy to the person you visited whether you were “good” at it or not! Visiting may not ever become your favorite thing, but then again, it might! All the while you’ve stretched your usefulness in the kingdom. Don’t forget to pray. Pray for wisdom, for opportunity, and for courage.
While muscular flexibility can improve pain and prevent injury, spiritual flexibility can improve effectiveness and prevent stagnation – benefits of which will last far into eternity. Resolve to be a Christian that is flexible. Get involved and stretch yourself!
Did you miss the rest of this series? Find the links to the previous articles below:
Kathryn is married to Andy Baker who preaches for the Maud church of Christ in Maud, TX. She stays at home with their 3 children. In her spare time, she enjoys food (both cooking and eating!), gardening, and taking their Boston terrier for walks.