Right now, I feel tired. I also feel that I’m spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere, and that I’m failing to meet the expectations of others. I feel bogged down in things that need doing, and I feel inadequate to the tasks that loom largest in my life – be a great husband, a great Dad, and a great Pastor.
Sometimes God takes me back to kindergarten, spiritually speaking. I spend time reading theological treatises, but I sometimes forget the most basic and simple of truths. Here’s one of those basic truths I sometimes struggle with: We choose our attitudes.
In our journey through the Word (I’ve been preaching through the entire Bible on Sundays), we’ve come up to the book of Ruth – one of my own favorites in the Old Testament. Ruth’s story takes place during one of the darker ages of the history of the Israelites. It’s a dark time in her nation, her life, and her family, yet Ruth manages to make some pretty great decisions along the way.
To be honest, the title of this post is a misnomer in some respects. Bold leadership sometimes requires we ignore any assessment of cost versus benefit. There are just times when the cost is worth it no matter what, such as when truth or integrity is at stake. At other times, we need to ascertain the damage of a risky decision, such as when a “smart” move might hurt someone we love.
W. A. Criswell defined teaching (from the pulpit) as “instructing a man in the will and ways of the Lord,” and preaching as “seeking to drive a man’s will God-ward.” There is a raging debate today over how much freedom people really have. A renewed fascination with Calvinism has brought this debate to the forefront. I’m not opening the whole can of worms here – just this one point. Preaching should be directed to the will of a person. Decisions count.