ADAPT TO CHANGE AND CONTINUE TO STRIVE
4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:1-2
All week we have been talking about the opportunities we have to make decisions and find direction and discernment for the days to come. One of the life lessons I learned from my dad was these three words... ADAPT... IMPROVISE... and OVERCOME. As a Air Borne Ranger in the army, these words were instilled into the life of my father who would then pass them down to me. It is one of the mantras in my life that continues to resonate with me when I begin to face a challenge I feel as if I cannot overcome on my own. I know that it may be a struggle and I know that some people may even see this as being insensitive, but it was a way in which my dad was to teach me the valuable lesson to always look for the opportunity to adapt to change or be left behind. As we look at the many different opportunities over the years, it is safe to say that life as we use to know it has changed. We are no longer living in the days where there is no fear in this world, and we have watched as people have had to adapt to a new way of thinking as they exit their homes and enter into the world. This is what happens when life changes. We are caught in a moment of chaotic nostalgia that some times causes us to freeze in the moment. We are faced with the reality that we need to look at life in a new way or we could possibly drown in the waters of uncertainty.
This morning I was reading a post by a friend that literally had the words that we are using for this blog this morning. Adapt to change and continue to strive. It seems that they are currently on vacation and received some news about their health that was not the best. But looking out their window on Grandfather mountain they see this picture from God that
completely gives them peace. As you see this picture today, I want you to notice the way that the trees are growing. See, the wind is so strong on the top of Grandfather mountain that is has caused these pine trees to have to adapt to survive. I'm sure if we could have talked to these trees as seedlings, they would have aspired to be the tallest, fullest evergreens that God had ever created, but instead, their circumstance has caused them to adapt to change. The wind has blown so hard that the trees now grow with a completely unique look but one that allowed my friend to realize that God is in control, and we are able to adapt to change and continue to move forward. It may not be the direction or the path that we thought it was going to be for us, but God has a bigger plan than He is revealing every step of the way. This week we will be starting back with a completely different time for our services and Sunday school. It is a plan that we have been praying over for a long time since the pandemic hit, and I will be honest, at first I had my doubts. I know that was satan stepping in, but none the less I have had my doubts. But I know that God has a plan and is faithful. I know that if we step out on faith, we will see how God's hand has been moving all along. We will see the bigger picture and receive comfort as we adapt to a new journey and through faith strive and move with God.
Regardless of where we are in life, we must recognize the power of God's plan. As we look at Paul's letter to Timothy, we are able to see this same challenge given to us. We are to first preach the word. Paul is telling us that regardless of what may be going on around us, preach the Word and be prepared in season or out of season. When I look at these words it reminds me first of the Boy Scout motto to Be Prepared. Paul is telling us to be ready in season or out of season to preach the Word. That means regardless if we are at church or home. If we are at our jobs talking to co-workers or walking down the street talking to a stranger. If we are in our homes talking to our families or literally wherever we are, we must be prepared to preach the WORD of God. We must be ready to adapt to our surroundings and teach the Gospel to those who God places in our path. We are called to adapt the way we teach based on our context and environment, but the Gospel will never change. Paul is sharing this with us today because he knows that we need to be prepared at any moment to show the love, grace and mercy of God to those that are in need. For some that may mean we have to correct them. For others, it may mean that we have to rebuke their teachings and even for others to encourage them to press on towards Christ. We will all face every one of these situations in our lives, and I hope and pray that we are willing to take hold of the lesson God is showing us, adapt to the changes we need to make in hopes that we can continue to strive to reach even more people for the Kingdom of God.
So our challenge today is to recognize how God is speaking to us and how we are to adapt to the direction that He is leading us. We must be willing to take hold that God is walking with us and doesn't want to hurt us, but that some times we have to see truth for what truth is... the opportunity to be set free from the chains that continue to entangle us in this world. I hope and pray that we all see that even the disciples had to adapt to change. When Jesus
met them, some were boys and others were men. All of them had some type or job or profession that they were already involved in before Jesus came along. But as soon as Jesus showed up in their lives, He simple said, "Follow Me", and they did. They were not ready to be disciples and they continued to struggle all along the way until the Holy Spirit came into the picture. They were always questioning why and what Jesus was doing, but when the truth was revealed, they adapted.... improvised.. and overcame the fear, doubt and uncertainty that had held them captive for so long. We can do the same today. We have the same power through the Holy Spirit to adapt to a new discipleship lifestyle that will reach others. It is not going to be easy, but when God is ready to move in our lives, we know that we will never be alone. Change happens every day, and we need to be willing to find a way to adapt or we may be left behind. I want to serve and be the best person for God I can be in this life. I hope and pray that I can see with different eyes the ways I need to continue to adapt if I am going to continue to strive and serve in these changing times as well. One thing I hold onto is that the GOSPEL NEVER CHANGES, but it does not mean that the methodology in which we present the GOSPEL continues to remain the same.