The dictionary uses the following definition for the word discretion—“1. the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice . . . 2. The quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum.” Discretion seems to be an increasingly neglected concept in our society. More and more people freely express their opinion or take action either with little prior thought to the consequences or with the deliberate decision to cause harm. For example, on Columbus Day, a national holiday, police in New York City have to protect statutes erected for Christopher Columbus for fear that people will vandalize or destroy them. Instead of taking into account the pride that Italian Americans have in a famous explorer, protestors feel justified in defacing or tearing down his monuments because of the perceived harm he caused to native Americans.
On Tuesday I flew into my headquarters to get ready for a key week. The next day with three of my leaders we would interview four candidates to choose our next deputy commander. My current deputy is superb—not just a great officer, but a man who will be a lifetime friend. Unfortunately, I’ve also had the challenge of working with executives who were inept or toxic. So knowing how vital it is to find the right leader, I did not get much sleep. When I woke up on Wednesday morning I felt led to get down on my knees and pray by my bed for wisdom from God and His divine help in making our selection. Immediately I felt His peace.
Luke 14:26, 27, 33—If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. In the same way, therefore, every one of you who does not say good-bye to all his possessions cannot be My disciple.
A tiny seed fell years ago and grew into a pine tree. But alas she rose in a place surrounded by firs and a healthy maple. The earth rotated and the sun shone but other more mature trees absorbed the light the struggling pine craved. Slowly, her lower limbs died. Her meager green needles only accentuated her brown gnarled plight. So with the help of Gary and Jim the sickly pine in the corner of my yard came down.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10—We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (NIV)
2 Timothy 2:20,21--Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver bowls, but also those of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. So if anyone purifies himself from anything dishonorable, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
The Sergeant Major looked over the railing as soldiers from his unit went over the edge. He had over twenty-five years in the Army but he had never rappelled before. As we stood in line, I saw no trace of fear in his eyes. He sought no excuse to leave the tower and climb back down the wooden steps. Instead he placed his trust: in the instructors who taught him how to tie a specially configured rope seat around his waist; the confident rappelmaster who double-wrapped his lines around a small metal D-ring and sent him off the platform top over the wall; the belay man 45 feet below, who was poised to pull his rope taut and break a possible fall; and the all important rope itself which would hold his weight and allow him to descend safely.