I was rereading the story of Abraham and his obedience to the call of God on his life and mission (Genesis 12). The thing I found intriguing is that Abraham’s mission was a mystery to him. Yet, he decided to pack up and follow God’s direction — and he was 75 years old! Then, when given the choice of the best land, Abraham gave it to Lot and took what was left. And he was rewarded for his decision.
Today, I deal with so many who think they must know each step to take before making a decision. And, when they do make a decision, they feel it must be “the best one.” Not so — God still asks us to live by faith and to bloom where we are planted.
I know there are those reading my words right now who are in the throes of making a big decision. They have analyzed all the angles to death and still find themselves undecided.
There are two things I see that worked in Abraham’s favor: First, he built an altar to the Lord wherever he was. He was obedient. He worshiped. Second, he entered into a covenant with his God. They made sincere promises to each other. God said to His servant, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Genesis 15:1). God was faithful.
You will be faced with many important decisions in your ministry and your life. To be honest, the process ties me in knots. But be faithful, be obedient, be courageous. Make your decision — and move on with confidence. So, how do you make major decisions in your life and ministry? May I share with you my process and see what you think? Here goes:
- Be rational. Once you know a decision must be made, begin by using the “pro and con” test. What’s good — what’s not so good?
- Where confidence can be guarded, talk it over with sensible, sensitive, spiritual people. Paint the scenario and give them time to weigh the complexities of the issue. See it through fresh eyes.
- Be careful to consider the whole of the organization and your family, not just the immediate pressures or an individual’s feelings. What will the distant future be like — not just tomorrow?
- Pray as you go — be constant in prayer. As you’re driving, shaving, or walking, talk it over with your Lord. He is with you. Acknowledge and involve Him.
- Don’t play the “appease” game. Avoid the short-term solution that will only complicate things in the future. Concession made at the sacrifice of principle is never good.
- As much as possible, have leadership on your side. If you want to be a human sacrifice, that is your choice, but it is much better to make all major decisions with folks standing beside you.
- Make the right choice. You have prayed, you have consulted, and you have come to a conclusion. Now, by faith in God and yourself, do what is right.
We all know that life is uncertain and short. The psalmist agonized over the brevity of life, comparing each day to a handbreadth and man’s life to a breath (Psalm 39:5). He concluded that his only secure hope was to trust in the Lord. He was right!
Many of the people you serve are probably facing uncertainty, too. They need to make big decisions. The events of the past may have left them wondering if the bad guy too often wins. The psalmist, too, wondered about this. However, he wrote, “I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more. … Observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace” (Psalm 37:35-37). Our security then is this: If we are a people of peace, God will provide for our future.
Let me conclude by saying that I am so impressed by men and women like you who have stared evil in the eye without blinking and led your people with a sincere faith, affirming the assuring words of Jesus to not worry. The psalmist knew that there would be desperate times — the earth itself might give way, waters rage, mountains quake. He even referenced the uproar of nations. But his conclusion was that, even if all these things happen, the Lord Almighty is with us. God is our fortress (Psalm 46). He is the rock you stand on. He is the source of your courage and boldness. He’s why you can say — “Do not worry!” — in the face of every decision.
“Do not worry about your life. … Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? … Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25, 27, 34).