I have a theory about shopping. I know what I want when I leave to go to the store and I usually find it in a short time and return home. Katie, on the other hand, has an idea about something she might want, but is not sure exactly what it is or where to find it. She can leave the house, be gone for hours, return home without anything, and then ask me to go with her the next day to look at something she could have purchased the previous day but is not there now, and has to spend time looking for it all over again or decide to look for something entirely different. After almost 50 years of marriage, I can only conclude that God made men and women different when it comes to shopping.
I once read about a fabricated “Husband Shopping Centre” which was opened where a woman who needed a husband could go to choose from among many men. It was laid out in five floors, with the positive attributes of the men improving as you ascend the floors. The only rule was, once you opened the door to any floor, you must choose a man from that floor, and if you went up a floor, you could not go back down except to leave the place. So, a couple of single ladies go to the place to find a husband. First floor, the door had a sign saying: “These men have jobs and love kids.” The women read the sign and say: “Well that’s better than not having jobs, or not loving kids, but I wonder what’s further up?” So up they go. Second floor says, “These men have high paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.” “Hmmm”, say the girls, “But I wonder what’s further up?” Third floor, “These men have high paying jobs, are extremely good looking, love kids and help with the housework.” “Wow!” say the women. “Very tempting, BUT there’s more, further up!” And so again, they go up to the fourth floor: “These men have high paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework, and have a strong romantic streak.” “Just think! What must be awaiting us further on!” So up to the fifth floor they go. The sign on that door said: “This floor is just to prove that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping and have a nice day!!”
“Focus on the Family” published five steps that Ken Costa, Dean of Holy Trinity Leadership College in London, wrote about the decision-making process for Christians. The first step in making a wise decision as a believer is to Consider by taking time to understand the risks and the facts, by spending time in prayer and asking God for wisdom. The second step is to Consult by seeking wisdom from people of wisdom whose advice we respect. The third step is to seek Clarification by testing the ideas and developing a list of pros and cons and reflecting on what is revealed through the testing. Whatever the choice that is made will require Courage, because the unknown is scary, but God has promised too always be with us. The final step is learning to be Content no matter which path we have chosen.
As Katie and I have reflected on our ministry at FCS, we can see the hand of God in the calling that God called us to so many years ago, and how these biblical principles of decision making are absolutely true. There have been times in our ministry when we have followed the biblical process of for our lives, and there have been other times when we have struck out on our own. Needless to say, the lessons we learned from trying to get ahead of God were not always enjoyable, but the sweet fulfillment of making decisions as God intended, has brought us much joy.
The truth for believers is that God wants to be an active part of all the decision making in our lives. Life will always throw us a curve ball and there will always be times when we are uncertain about what to do. Our choice is very clear. If we choose to rely on our own wisdom, we risk failure and heartache. If we follow the principles of God’s Word and trust in God’s plan for our lives, we have the assurance that He will be with us. The choice seems to be very clear. Trust God always with every decision!
Robert Andrews, Ph.D.