So there’s this guy, he’s pretty amazing, named Bob Ward. I’m sure I’m leaving a lot out, but here’s a brief bio. Bob is a great Christian man, father to believing children, is a towering theologian, former pastor, former music minister, and current leader of PIMI, an independent missions organization to Romania. And he can do a great Donald Duck impression.
Anyways, flash-back to 2006. My life straying from God, at last, has come to a total ruin. Feeding from the proverbial trough of the world, I came to my senses, and lifted my eyes to my Father, hoping perhaps He might accept me back as a mere servant, but He came running, embraced me as a son and put His robe around me and a gold ring on my finger. Then he sent his servant to lead me to Steven’s Street Baptist Church, where my life began again in Him.
The very first thing I heard about was a mission trip to Romania. Having plenty of the world’s goods at the time, I leaped at this opportunity and signed up. A few months later I was soaring in the clouds over the Atlantic Ocean to Romania, where God would do so many things in my life in a very short amount of time.
1. Be Flexible!
Bob was the man in charge. In the months before we left, he repeated a mantra over and over, telling us to engrave it onto our minds. “Be flexible.” Things were not going to go as planned, they never do on mission trips. God guides us by the Spirit, which we know from John 3 is like a wind that blows here, then there, and we don’t know where it’s coming from or where it’s going to. In short, God tends to overturn plans on mission trips perhaps a bit more than in regular life. It’s so important to be flexible, or submissive to God on these kinds of trips. You have to be ready for anything, ready to drop what your doing and head in a different direction. A person’s eternal destiny may hang in the balance. Boy, that sure was good advice. There were times when things changed suddenly, but when I was tempted to become frustrated, I simply remembered “Be Flexible” and it became well with my soul.
What I’ve learned since coming back is that “Be Flexible” is not only for mission trips, but for every facet and season of this abundant life in Christ Jesus. Sure, most people’s plans and schedules don’t get as overturned as often during the day to day life by God as during a mission trip, but God does step in and demand changes in your plans, and often times quickly too. If we become married to our plans and dreams and schedules, and not to Christ, we may snap in two when this happens. But just like a flexible branch, you too can bend and not break if you are constantly ready for God to step and change everything. Life will be better, trust me!
2. Don’t Look at the Bus, Get ON the Bus!
In Romania, buses took us everywhere we did not walk. The first time we walked out of our hotel to get on a bus, a curious thing happened. We all got in front of the bus and stood there, talking to one another. Suddenly Bob shouts, “Don’t look at the bus, get ON the bus!” My senses snapped to attention, and I got on board. Odd, why was I just standing there? But it didn’t stop there, at almost every bus stop, we would gather and just stand in front of it, and not get on until he shouted at us to. Why? I really can’t say, perhaps a psychologist would know, but it did get me thinking.
In our day to day life, God has a purpose for every breath we take. Each day, the Bible tells us, God has prepared good works in advance for us that we might walk in them. So many of us are all for what God is doing, we clap, we cheer, we amen, and we say we will help, but often times we continue to just stand there and not do anything. Or take a simpler example. We see simple needs each day we could fulfil in the name of Christ, spreading His light and message, but we just stand there.
I saw a commercial once where someone throws a piece of trash on the ground, and several people gather around it to complain about the litter, condemn the man, and mourn that people aren’t more considerate. Suddenly a man passes by, picks up the piece of trash and tosses it into the trash can. This example illustrates how many Christians act towards ministries and needs. Ever saying the right things, but not acting on them. Better was the man who said nothing, but stepped in and solved the problem.
So when God opens a door of opportunity before you to do some good in His name, whether great or small, “Don’t look at the bus, get ON the bus!”
I doubt whether Bob has ever known what a great impact those two phrases of his have had on my life, but thanks brother!