Steadfast and immovable does not mean rigid

Good morning everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Steadfast and immovable”
Our Bible verse for today: “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win those without law. To those who are without the law, like one without the law – though I am not without God’s law but under the law of Christ – to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every means possible save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Steadfast and immovable does not mean rigid”
There’s an age-old fable told, about a mighty oak tree and a willow tree standing in the same field. The willow tree envied the strength, power, and sheer majesty of the oak tree. One day a storm with great winds and torrential rains blew through the field. After the storm was over the willow tree saw that the mighty oak had fallen over. In confusion, she asked the farmer who owned the land what happened to the mighty oak. “How did the storm blow the oak tree over and yet I’m still standing?” asked the willow.  The farmer explained that although the oak was mighty and solid, it was also rigid and inflexible. So, when the winds became too much for it to resist, it broke and toppled. The force of the wind and the pressure of the storm was just too much for the oak to withstand and so, it collapsed. By comparison, the willow was flexible and adaptable and was therefore able to bend with the wind and weather the storm.
Please note that the willow did not become uprooted – she held her ground and was immovable from the place she was planted, but she was flexible enough to bend as necessary and to do so without giving ground. Steadfast and immovable does not necessarily mean rigid and inflexible.
There’s a lesson in that for us. There is a lot to be said for the formidable strength of the oak, but there’s also great danger in being rigid. Often being flexible will be of much greater advantage – it allows us to bend while still holding our ground.
This is important. We Christians can often be rigid when we should be flexible. It is possible to be faithful to the Lord, true to our doctrine, and firm in our positions, while still being flexible enough to adjust ministry methods and practices as necessary according to the situations we find ourselves in. There’s a rule of thumb which applies to this. It reads, “The message never changes, but the methods must.”
That’s the lesson Paul modeled in his own life and ministry, as described in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22 (above). Paul was rock solid in his faith. He was a pillar of strength and courage and fortitude and he never budged an inch in his doctrine. But he was also flexible in the way he interacted with people and in the ways in which he conducted his ministry among them. Therefore, he was about to adjust to the cultural settings he found himself in.
Paul had the strength of the oak, but the flexibility of the willow. That’s a pretty good goal for us too. Being steadfast and immovable does not mean being rigid.
God bless,
Pastor Jim  
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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