Being Flexible in Ministry

February 2, 2023 — Krystal Craven
The devotional title text of "Being Flexible in Ministry" overlaying a woman in street clothes on a building rooftop in a contorted position.

This week’s passage, which we’ll dig into a little deeper in the coming weeks but are going to look at an overview this week, is a longer passage than our normal devotional passages. But I couldn’t leave out or pick apart God’s word, so bear with me.

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him. And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue. And falling at Jesus' feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.

As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened. (Luke 8:40-56)

Amazing how Jesus interacted with everyone in these situations – He’s greeted by a crowd waiting for Him, undoubtedly to hear Him teach or see miracles, and Jairus comes begging Him to heal his only daughter who was dying. On the way to Jairus’ house, another miracle is performed as power involuntarily leaves Jesus and heals the woman. Jesus knows Jairus’ daughter is dying, but He stops to address this woman in a personal interaction before continuing on His way. When it’s told that Jairus’ daughter is now dead, He isn’t swayed at all and the would be healing of the sick becomes a raising of the dead.

A Flexible Approach

Jesus approached His ministry with flexibility and allowed the Holy Spirit to lead Him in the Father’s will even though it sometimes seemed to detour from a current work. He could have been upset that the woman touched Him, He could have just known and ignored it, He could have decided to try to come back and find out who it was later, but He valued the person who had just been healed and wanted a make a personal connection. And although His initial visit to Jairus’ house was going to be to heal the daughter’s sickness, hearing the news of her death didn’t keep Him away and He performed an even greater miracle.

In Your Ministry

How often do you take the time be flexible when you serve in ministry? Sometimes ministry can be extremely busy and we often find that being good stewards requires us to make schedules, plan ahead, and diligently work within timeframes to be effective in certain areas of ministry. What if by being stringent to do so, you miss an opportunity to witness or be a part of a greater work?

Making schedules, planning ahead, and being diligent and disciplined are not bad things. The gifts, such as administration, is given by the Holy Spirit, but if we also need to be open to allow the Holy Spirit to change the schedule and plan sometimes. Jesus said the Spirit moves about like the wind (John 3:8), so we need to be willing and open to move about whichever way He leads us.

Your Field

One last thing to point out is that the good works God has prepared for you to walk in won’t all necessarily be what you think of as ministry, in the sense that it won’t all take place in a church building or be led by the church. God has good works for you to do within your family, your job, your community – your sphere of influence, which is your mission field.

So as you go about your day, whether that be work, school, chores, errands, etc – are you willing to let the Holy Spirit detour your schedule and plans in order to use you? He very well may lead you in a direction you didn’t anticipate or plan for, but if He detours your plans, let Him guide your steps as you walk in those good works. Who knows, that detour may end up being a greater work than you ever realized.

The text "Serving in ministry requires flexibility allowing the Spirit to move you as He sees fit, even if things take a different direction than you planned." The text is overlaying awoman in street clothes on a building rooftop in a contorted position.