Perhaps I’m as much a culprit of this myself as anyone else. I have lots of excuses though . . . and they’re good ones!
You see, I’m a Presbyterian Pastor – you know, one of “God’s Frozen Chosen”. We Presbyterians like to trumpet the fact that the hallmark of our denomination is that we do all things “Decently and in order”. In fact, the United States used the Presbyterian form of representative government as its model. And therein lies the rub: just as the congress moves at glacial speed, so moves my church. And like turning an aircraft carrier when it’s going in the wrong direction through narrow and troubled waters, getting things done is painstaking and fraught with danger.
So, I operate in an environment that functions primarily on discussion and debate to set a course for action. This worked really well when information traveled by courier. In an age of instantaneous communication, whenever and wherever you might be . . . not so much. By the time we Presbyterians make a decision, though it may be well thought out and sound in its process and focus, the problem is nearly ready for the history books.
That’s my excuse today and I’m sticking to it.
So why rant on about my excuses? Well, I read this little gem today:
Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage— to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith. Overwhelming grace keep you! 1 Timothy 6:17-21
It’s so easy to see opportunities to do good – to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous – and yet it’s not nearly as easy to make a snap decision in these moments. We get caught up in counting the cost; the what if’s; the will this make me look stupid’s; the do I really have time for this’s. We get distracted by the little debate society between our ears, and too many times the needy are left in the dust as we cruse down life’s highway trying to make a decision.
Yeah, you’re more Presbyterian than you thought, huh!
Well, let’s make a determination today and let’s do it without too much debate: Let’s avoid the “Practiced Confusion” that lets us motor past those who need our help and be extravagantly generous whenever possible. I’m not just talking about with our wallets – for some of us it’s much easier to throw money at a problem than to actually get involved in a solution. Let’s use the treasury of life that God gave us and spread the wealth around. Pay it forward a little. Let’s just keep at it!
We just might get it right someday . . .
Pressing on toward the goal . . .