Friday, December 14, 2018

When in Doubt

Once I entered the work force full-time, I quickly realized that my schooling had disprepared me for one problem that I have faced nearly every day. I had been sent to school at the age of five. I was in school every year except one until I was 21. The one year I did not go to school I did factory work. So, for 16 of my first 21 years, a bell had ruled my life. A bell told me when to work, when to eat, when to play, and when to go home.

Then I moved into a line of work in which I had to choose what to do and when to do it. Sometimes I have struggled to choose between good and evil; but mostly it is a choice between good and good. Every day I face decisions about how to use my time, and often I am not sure what will be the best use of that time. If you identify with that dilemma, read on.

When in doubt – pray. We are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), so it can never be a mistake to pray. Whatever else we may be doing, it will be done better if done prayerfully. Even if we make a mistake and take up a task that was not the most important or timely task, we will still do better at it and honor God more with it, if we commit our actions to him in prayer.

When in doubt – serve
. Choose a task that will bless someone else and do it (Mt 20:25-28). Do it with all of your might (Eccl 9:10). Any work of service performed with energy and enthusiasm is better than sitting around stewing over what to do.

When in doubt – worship. To glorify the Lord is our purpose in life. This is what we were created to do and what we were recreated to do (Isa 43:21; Mt 5:16; 1 Pet 4:10ff). A few minutes of worship may often clear the mind and help us make a firm decision. Even if it does not make things clear, it will have been time well spent.

Good stewardship of our time involves thinking and planning. But sometimes, no matter how hard we think, there may be doubt as to what is truly the best use of our time. Do not prolong those moments of doubt. Get busy with prayer, service, or worship and you cannot go wrong.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Trouble With My Picky Nail

The nail on my left pinky finger had a talk with me the other day. He said, “I really like being a part of your body; but I do not like being attached to any particular part of the body. I think that I should be able to wander around freely. I know that I cannot go just anywhere and everywhere; but I would like to be on the right hand some weeks, and maybe be on the thumb sometimes instead of always on a finger. Sometimes I might even like to try being on a toe occasionally.”

I tried to explain to the little nail that it was not a question of what he wants, but a question of what the body needs. My body needs each of its parts to stay in their place and to faithfully do their task. While it might be more fun for parts of the body to jump around from place to place and from role to role, that is not what will be good for the body. I need him right there on my left pinky. If I cannot count on him in that role, that nail is of very little use to the body as a whole.

I had a talk with a Christian the other day. He said that he does not like committing to one congregation. He does not like being in submission to a given eldership. He sees himself as a member of the body of Christ in a general sense, not as connected to a particular part of the body.

Do you have any idea what I should say to him?

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you (Hebrews 13:17, ESV).