Blessed are the Flexible
(The “Ninth Beatitude”)
As the Google definition reads, flexibility is “the quality of bending easily without breaking.” If a person is flexible, it implies that s/he has the grace to be open to the ideas of others – and has a willingness to be instructed and challenged to change and compromise for the better (without surrendering Biblical principles). It is unfathomable to imagine what life would be like without flexibility and compromise.
Scripture speaks to this admirable trait in a number of passages (among many others):
Mark 1:16-18 King James Version
16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.
18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
Matthew 2:7-12 King James Version
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
Luke 10:38-42 King James Version
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
In the passages above, each character had one plan in motion, or was set to follow one, but then, with flexibility and grace, elected to follow another route, based on his or her trust in God. Each person was willing to yield their own plan of what they should do and, instead, found strength in following God’s direction.
Although it makes much more sense to be flexible – to “bend” rather than to “break” – many times we are pridefully compelled to hold onto our own way of thinking and acting. When we “see ourselves as the center,” convinced that ours is the only way; or that there is to be no compromise because compromise signifies weakness, we “base all of our decisions on our own needs and feelings, ignoring others, not seeing the big picture, or being accommodating in order to make the right decisions and go in the right directions.” (Dr. Richard J. Krejcir)
It is easy for us to become set in our ways. We prefer our comforts, routine, and status quo.
After we do a thing for a certain period of time, it becomes sacred. And when someone upsets our sacred routine, we are upset. What is it in your life about which you have decided to just ‘put your foot down’ and remain inflexible and unmovable? Pray that you remain pliable in the hands of God, that you may be ever-learning, ever-growing, and flexibly ever-changing.
"Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings. Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited." (Isaiah 54:2-3).
Blessed are the flexible, indeed! Let’s get stretching!