A note from a friend:
How are you?
I just had to send a note to tell you how much I care about you. I saw you yesterday as you were talking to your friends; I waited all day hoping you would want to talk with me too. I gave you a sunset to close your day and a cool breeze to rest you, and I waited.
You never came. It hurt me – but I still love you because I am your friend.
I saw you sleeping last night and longed to touch your brow so I spilled moonlight upon your face. Again I waited, wanting to rush down so we could talk. I have so many gifts for you!
You awoke and rushed off to work. My tears were in the rain. If you would only listen to me! I love you! I try to tell you in blue skies and in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in the leaves
on the trees and breathe it in colours of flowers; shout it to you in mountain streams; give the birds love songs to sing. I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature’s scents. My love for you is deeper than the ocean and bigger than the biggest need in your heart! Ask me! Talk with me! Please don’t forget me, I have so much to share with you!
I won’t trouble you any further. It is YOUR decision, I have chosen you and I still wait because I love you.
Your friend, Jesus.
Charles Finney, lawyer and evangelist, was speaking in a New York church in the 1830s. At the end of each evening, he gave people the opportunity to come to the front of the room and commit their life to Jesus. A great many lawyers came to hear him. One night, the Chief Justice of New York was sitting way up in the gallery. As he listened to Finney proclaiming the gospel he became convinced it was true.
Then this question came into his mind: ‘Will you go forward like the other ordinary people?’ Something within him made him think that it would be inappropriate to do so, because of his prestigious social position (at the top of the legal hierarchy of New York State). He sat there pondering the choice he had to make. Then he thought, ‘Why not? I am convinced of the truth… why should I not do it like any other person?’
He got up from his seat in the gallery, went down the staircase and came up the stairs at the back to where Finney was preaching. Finney, in the middle of his sermon, felt someone tugging at his jacket. He turned around. The Chief Justice said, ‘Mr Finney, if you will call people forward I will come.’ Finney stopped his talk and said, ‘The Chief Justice says that if I call people forward he will come. I ask you to come forward now.’
The Chief Justice went forward. Almost every lawyer in Rochester, New York, followed him! It is said that 100,000 people were converted in the next twelve months in that area. One person’s choice affected the lives of numerous others.
Life is full of choices. We make choices every day of our lives. You can make bad choices or you can make good choices. Your choices matter. Some choices have life-changing consequences.
Bible in One Year 2020 with Nicky Gumbel, day 123, YouVersion
It is one thing having stubborn tenacity and refusing to change your mind; it’s another being down right pig-headed and awkward. The following story illustrates the point well.
One night, prior to the Second World War and just before the invention of radar, a battleship spotted an intermittent light fast approaching it from out of the darkness. The captain of the battleship alarmed but ready for action, ordered his signalman to flash a message in Morse code. “Unidentified vessel, change your course immediately.” No sooner had the message been dispatched than back came the same reply. “Unidentified vessel, change your course immediately.” The captain saw red and instructed his signalman to send a new message: “Change your course immediately, I am a Captain.” The response was again instantaneous and read, “Change your course immediately, I am a Seaman, Third Class!” By now the captain was furious and so one last time the signal went out, “Change your course immediately, I am a BATTLESHIP.” As before the response came back just as swiftly, “Change your course immediately, I am a LIGHTHOUSE! … Your call!”
Original source unknown: This adaptation from Discover Your True Potential by R. Ian Seymour
“There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. There is no such thing in life as in-between.”
Pat Riley, US basketball coach, author and speaker
“If you don’t decide where you are going, life will take you to a place you probably never wanted to be.”
Men sleep well in the Inn of Decision.
John Maxwell says, “When it comes to commitment, there are really only four types of people:
- Cop-outs. People who have no goals and do not commit.
- Holdouts. People who don’t know if they can reach their goals, so they’re afraid to commit.
- Dropouts. People who start toward a goal but quit when the going gets tough.
- All-outs. People who set goals, commit to them, and pay the price to reach them.”
“Even the right decision is the wrong decision if it is made too late.”
Lee Iacocca, former chairman of Chrysler Motors
Decide to decide – then take action. To borrow a line from a well-known nursery rhyme: “There were two little dickie birds sat upon a wall” – one decided to fly off. How many were left? Most people answer one, but the correct answer is still two. Just because one bird decided to fly off doesn’t mean that it actually did fly off!
R. Ian Seymour
“Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach.”
The world wants us to conform but God wants us to transform. The decision is left to us.
A successful bank president, about to retire, was being interviewed by a reported: “Sir, to what do you attribute your success?”
“That’s easy to answer: good decisions.”
“And to what do you attribute your good decisions?”
“That’s easier still: the wisdom gained from experience.”
“And where did you get that experience?”
“Easy again: learning from bad decisions.”
Source: David McNally, Even Eagles Need A Push, 1990, New York: Dell Publishing, p.4
I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made – I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colourless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognised, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean in His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and I labour with power.
Written by a young pastor in Zimbabwe, Africa, later martyred for his faith in Christ.
Source: Men’s Devotional Bible, 1993, Zondervan Publishing, p.1177
“God doesn’t issue rules and regulations for every moment. No. He provides guidelines and principles and He allows us to make decisions. Why? Because ultimately He is glorified when we chose to consult and obey him.”
Bob Gass, The UCB Word For Today, 10/5/2002
In his best-selling book, The Prayer of Jabez, Bruce Wilkinson relates the story of a Roman gladiator who is in the arena and in big trouble. He has dropped his sword and the enraged lion senses its opportunity and is about to strike. The crowd in the Colosseum are on their feet watching in horror as the gladiator turns and tries to flee to safety. Then caption then reads; “Sometimes you can afford to come in second. Sometimes you can’t!”
This is the story of Jonathan Jay,
Who died defending his right of way.
He was right, dead right, as he went along,
But now he’s as dead as if he were wrong!
Never before has there been so much choice in life. Try asking for a painkiller from your chemist! Aspirin or paracetamol? Tablet, capsule or liquid? Brand name or chemist’s own? Regular or extra strength? Small or large packet? It’s enough to give you a headache!
Source: Stephen Gaukroger, It Makes Sense, p.36
Ken Costa shares this advice: In the theatre of war, when an officer has to make a snap decision, it is made using the “go-no-go” formula; in an instant, the factors for and against are calculated. If two-thirds align positively, it’s “go,” and if not, it’s “no-go.” Ken says: This may seem a crude calculation, but I have found it a useful tool.
Ken Costa, Know Your Why, 2016, Nashville, Tennessee: W Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, p.157
“The idea of a life in which the inward voice of the Holy Spirit decides and directs everything sounds most attractive, for it seems to exalt the Spirit’s ministry and to promise the closest intimacy with God; but in practice this quest for super-spirituality leads only to frantic bewilderment or lunacy… The fundamental mode whereby our rational Creator guides his rational creatures is by rational understanding and application of his written Word [the Bible].
J.I. Packer, theologian, lecturer and author.
‘When making decisions, requests for signs from God should be confirmatory, rather than predictive. Gideon twice laid a fleece before the Lord in order to confirm what God had said (Judges 6:36-40). It is important to note that the fleece was laid after the decision to go into battle to save Israel had actually been made – it was not a way of shirking responsibility. Requests for signs should, therefore, be confirmatory (although God may intervene) rather than predictive and need be made only in special cases.’ – Ken Costa
Ken Costa, God At Work, 2013, London: Alpha International, p.65
“Once I make up my mind, I’m full of indecision.”
Oscar Levant, entertainer
There is an iconic scene in the cult classic The Matrix that makes for a great metaphor. Morpheus gives Neo a choice between two pills: ‘You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.’
Source: Mark Batterson, IF, 2015, Grand Rapids: Michigan, Baker Books, p.46
When you make a real decision, you draw a line, and it’s not in the sand but in cement.
Anthony Robbins, author, trainer and motivational speaker
“Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
Peter F. Drucker, author and management expert
Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you make. Your commitments can develop you or they can destroy you, but either way, they will define you. Tell me what you are committed to, and I will tell you what you will be in twenty years. We become whatever we are committed to.
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, Zondervan Publishing, p.180
“When a decision has to be made, make it. There is no totally right time for anything.”
General George S. Patton (1885-1945), US military commander
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Those who have gone through the door have completed half their journey.
Follow your inner compass and trust your gut.
‘The Road Not Taken’
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And, both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
by Robert Frost (1874-1963)
“A commitment is like your signature on a contract: it binds you to a course of action.”
Nido Qubein, writer and motivational speaker
Deciding To Commit: A young boy kept falling out of bed and so, eventually, his father sat him down and asked what the problem was. The child thought for a moment and answered: “I guess I just remain too close to the place where I got in.” Isn’t that so true of many people? When it comes to fulfilling ones potential, many people suffer from the same problem. They dabble or dip their feet in the water but don’t go any further. Success depends upon commitment. So, then, if you are in to something, get into it, and if you are not into it, get out and get into something else.