Steve lived in a large house in a pleasant suburb. It was a great place to raise his family of five, but his children have long since married and moved on. 15 years ago, Steve’s business failed, and although it would have made financial and practical sense for Steve and his wife to downsize, they loved their home and always put off the tough decision.
They ended up keeping the home by default, probably hoping things would improve. Instead, as the years passed, their debts mounted until the inevitable was reached, and they absolutely had to sell. Unfortunately, by this time, the housing market had collapsed, and the proceeds of the sale no longer even covered their debts.
Not making a decision is a decision. Like Steve, many have plenty of their own stories in this regard, finding it quite difficult to “sign on the dotted line.” I think there are a few reasons why we sometimes delay our decision-making as long as possible.
UNKNOWNS OF THE FUTURE
Perhaps we hesitate to face an unknown future. After all, as much as we try to anticipate the results of our choices, there are many factors beyond our insight and control. We cannot know for sure what will follow.
FEAR OF THE FUTURE
Future fears didn’t hold back Abraham. He said “yes” to God and left his home in Haran not knowing where he was going. Moses showed similar faith, leading the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and onwards to the Promised Land. Jesus’ disciples left their livelihoods to follow Him, which took another kind of faith.
DIFFICULTIES OF THE FUTURE
Who knows whether Abraham foresaw the difficulties he would face—famine, family troubles, and battles, amongst others. Could Moses possibly have anticipated the troubled wilderness journey ahead? Jesus’ disciples didn’t always have an easy time of things either. Yet events showed that all these people made the right decisions, helping create the foundation for our faith.
Few of us face such dramatic circumstances as these Bible heroes, but we all face choices, big and small. May God help us to make well-considered decisions.
When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.—William James (1842–1910)
There is a time when we must firmly choose the course we will follow, or the relentless drift of events will make the decisions.—Herbert V. Prochnow (1897–1998)
Mark 1:16-20 (NIV) As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Genesis 12:10 (NIV) Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
Exodus 16:3 (NIV) The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”