Imagine being told you are headed to Iraq and you may not see your family for a year. You are trained with specific skills and given an important mission. Once you get past the emotional struggle of leaving your family you focus in on the task ahead of you. But everything changes. Instead of deploying overseas your unit ends up at Fort Lewis and you and your fellow combat engineers are assigned to work as gate guards for the installation. Meet SSG Osborne! Such was the fate he and his fellow National Guardsmen from Oregon encountered.
Every time I drove onto Fort Lewis I was met by courteous, professional soldiers. Aside from their shoulder patches and a sign which proclaimed their unit, there was no way to differentiate between these men and the active Army military police who normally guard the reservation. If they were disappointed in their duty, it did not show. And that got me to thinking . . .
1 Corinthians 9:12--If others have this right to receive benefits from you, don’t we even more? However, we have not made use of this right; instead we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ.
The Apostle Paul alludes to the fact in the passage above, that he and his team had the right to be financially supported by the Corinthian Christians to whom they ministered. But rather than take the chance that the gospel might somehow be hindered they chose to work and subsist on what God provided outside of the local believers. Paul understood how touchy people can get over the issue of money. Evidently he discerned that it was not prudent to seek support so he chose a different course of action. Unlike the pastor or Christian worker who insists that he be paid and makes a fuss over support, Paul focused on the gospel and trusted God to care for their needs.
The key to flexibility is the ability to understand the big picture. How does an engineer remain cheerful checking ID cards at a gate despite the fact that this was not what he was trained to do? He understands that military police are in short supply and are greatly needed to maintain order and discipline in a dangerous environment elsewhere. His sacrifice is for the greater good of the organization. Way to go engineers!
How do we remain cheerful when our best plans are blown to smithereens and nothing seems to go the way we intended? We remember that we are serving an Almighty Father! We wear a godly attitude with Christ-like character to further the gospel which supersedes our agenda and personal need. Flexibility reveals contentedness which in turns testifies to a strong faith in God. Inflexibility reveals a need for control which spanks of pride and faithlessness. Are you willing to live semper gumby (always flexible) or would you rather simply grumble?
©2003 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)