Lately my sons and I have been talking about the character trait of “availability”. Here it is:
“Availability is allowing my schedule and priorities to be secondary to the wishes of those I serve.”
Who are the people I serve? My wife, my boys, my church, my staff, those who’s leadership I’m under, my friends and family. I’m called to serve them all. If you think about those you serve in your life, chances are the list is extensive. So how can we pull this off? How can we put our schedule and priorities second to all these?
Answer: By being flexible.
I’m a huge planner. I have to be. In my roles as husband, father, son, brother, pastor and friend there are countless needs tugging at my sleeve all the time. Because of this I have to plan most of my days to get it all done. I live by my calendar.
Here’s the problem, people’s needs don’t stay inside the nice, neat box called our schedule like we’d like. Life is messy. When others needs come up I have to decide whether I’m going to stick with my schedule or get outside the box and serve. Sometimes I don’t have a choice, but the truth is most of the time I do.
Truth: When we get so rigid in our schedule that we don’t leave any margin for serving others; we’ve missed God’s will for our lives.
Several years ago I had a pastor that was working on my staff. He was known by the entire staff for being lazy and would do anything to avoid going above and beyond his normal duties. One day I asked him to help with another ministry’s big summer event. His response, “That’s not part of my job description.” Needless to say he didn’t last much longer on our team. Why? He didn’t have a servant’s heart. He only wanted to serve his own priorities.
It’s one thing to say, “I’m willing to help”. It’s another thing to say, “I’m willing to put your needs first.”
Check out Philippians 2:3–4 (ESV):
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
I want to remind you to walk in the character of Jesus Christ and make your life available to God and others. Get flexible. Serving others comes from remembering Christ’s service to us and counting others as “more significant” than ourselves.