Have you ever had a period in life where you felt like an idiot and wish you could crawl in a hole and hide? I think I’m just emerging from the hole.
Fourteen months ago, we put a man we trusted in our vacant house that couldn’t sell to minister to homeless people. It was to be a sanctuary where folks could get their lives back in order. We had clear guidelines and standards on how the home was to operate—so much for good intentions. The man running the home refused to be accountable. He disregarded the rules with the excuse that his spiritual guidance was sufficient. Then he began insisting I gave him the house and quit paying “mortgage assistance.” We gave all the occupants a 30-day eviction notice and they refused to leave. Finally, after securing an attorney and going through several sessions in court, we have our house back. The home leader promised before the judge to pay us a sum of money and to turn the premises over with everything moved out and “broom clean.” He reneged on paying us and left the place full of trash and an incredible accumulation of stuff. What an ordeal.
Proverbs 1:23—If you turn to my discipline, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words.
Wisdom grows through the discipline of unity. “Can two walk together without agreeing to meet?” (Amos 3:3) My wife was never at peace with the decision to use our house in the manner it was run. She sensed there would be problems. Optimistic compassion often results in good but from a floor of sand. Realistic compassion waits until the concrete is poured.
Wisdom grows through the discipline of obedience. There were countless signs that the policies we established in the beginning were violated. Instead of correcting the problems early on, I chose to be gracious and give the director every chance to succeed. By allowing him to disregard the standards a hill of discontent became a volcano of rebellion. “The one who keeps a command will not experience anything harmful, and a wise heart knows the right time and procedure” (Ecclesiastes 8:5).
Wisdom grows through the discipline of rest. We saw that the director was often overwhelmed by the problems of those in the home and that in reality it was far too big a ministry for him to handle. We should have extracted him from the mess and used a different leadership approach. Relief is sometimes the best answer.
Wisdom is not grown by hoping problems will go away, by avoiding confrontation, by naïve kindness, or by lowering standards. She offers her counsel to those willing to listen, and that takes discipline. I hope you learn from my mistakes and I hope you remember what I’m reminded of—God’s love and grace is always deeper than our misfortune.
A fault once denied is twice committed.—Japanese proverb
©2009 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)