Proverbs 1:32,33—For the turning away of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger.
Greg McKeown is the author of an excellent book entitled essentialism. Greg contends that the disciplined pursuit of less is a major key to success. Lin Yutang says, “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” From this premise, McKeown lays out a compelling case which helps us understand why it is important to: say “no” and not overextend; prioritize our lives; exercise the power of choice; discern what is important; know when to make tradeoffs; know when to play and to sleep; know what to select and what to eliminate; set boundaries and focus; etc.
Have you ever wondered, What do I have to do to live a stable life, to not be twisted with every fierce wind of opposition or pulled from what is right to what is ultimately degrading? How can I have the kind of healthy fellowship with God that will bring joy and fulfillment?
Acts 5:34,35,38,39—A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while He said to them, “Men of Israel, be careful about what you’re going to do to these men . . . And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God.” So they were persuaded by him.
The Ascent Church in Monument, Colorado is in the process of selecting new elders. Two of us, who are currently on the elder board, recently met with one of two prospective elders to gauge whether he would be a good addition to our team. The process will continue with several more meetings with our pastors and elders and, then if nominated, the congregation will vote to bring them on as elders. It is a solid method and it works well for our church.
1 Timothy 5:22—Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
Have you ever been in a situation where no matter what action you took nothing good was likely to happen? We call this “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” In 1917 a lack of funding caused by an earlier banking crisis led to a dispute between copper mining companies and mineworkers in Bisbee, Arizona. The workers, some of whom had organized in labor unions, gave their company management a list of demands for better pay and conditions. Management refused their request and many workers at the Bisbee mines were forcibly deported to New Mexico. “Given that the mineworkers were faced with a choice between harsh and underpaid work at the rock-face on the one hand and unemployment and poverty on the other” this is probably the source of the phrase.
Matthew 6:33—But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
I would imagine if you quoted Jesus’ advice above to a secular financial advisor he might laugh you out of his office after you explained that “all these things” referred to food, drink and clothing (6:25,31). “Are you crazy! Don’t put your trust in some ancient religious leader. After all, God helps those who help themselves. If you want to live the good life and be secure, you better make lots of money.”
In the book of 2 Samuel chapter 15, King David’s son Absalom decided to kill his father and take his crown. Absolom was not the firstborn, nor was he in line to rule Israel. But he was overly ambitious, handsome, popular, and disillusioned enough with his father to plot his ruin. In a four-year time frame he managed to form a loyal army of followers and recruit David’s top advisor, Athithophel, to his cause. So formidable was his rebellion that David was forced to flee for his life from Jerusalem.