C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Misguided Advice + Folly Discernment = Disappointing Outcomes

The other day at work, I was asked to help a coworker set their new office furnishing closer to the wall. The furniture was empty, so we proceeded into his office to reposition it. As we took our places on either side of the desk, we lifted it slightly to move it back a little less than six inches. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my hand. Without ever having seen it, a painted canvas had fallen from the shelving attached to the desk we were moving. Neither of us had taken notice of the painting before we started the move; even though he had apparently placed it there beforehand at some point, and I did look at the furniture before helping him move it.

For some reason, a single scripture reference came to mind: Proverbs 18:13 says, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” I realize one may reasonably question how the two – the story and the verse – relate to one another, so let me explain. Within our move, we had the location (the office), the situation (move the furniture), the person familiar or part of the situation (the coworker), and the person invited or entering the situation (me).

Entering the location, even observing the situation and being told of it, I still did not discern the painted canvas which fell on my hand. My coworker apologized for not remembering he had placed the artwork there, and I apologized for not noticing the painting before helping him move the furniture. Thank goodness it was not damaged, but my hand was still hurt, he was still disappointed it happened, and the artwork could have been broken. All because we observed the location and took for granted we knew the situation; instead of taking the time to examine every possible detail before taking action.

This same principle applies in our daily lives, when we interact with family, friends, and those around us. Sometimes we make judgments or give advice, but how often are they possibly made or given without us noticing or discerning all of the key elements of a given situation? Perhaps we think we know all of the information, yet some is merely gossip. What if we have only heard a partial truth, by listening to just one side of the story? How many times have we apologized, only to leave the other person – or perhaps even entire relationships – worse off than they were? All because we answered a matter – by words and/or deeds – without really hearing and/or understanding the entirety of the situation and everything involved?

May we be mindful of our judgments and quick advice to others, as it may prove to encompass a much different – long lasting, opposite – outcome than we might first have imagined.

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John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.