Thursday, January 09, 2014

Decision Making For A Better New Year

Making decisions with eternity in mind.

John 11:40-42 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.”

The story about Lazarus sickness and eventual death before Jesus arrived to help him is a well know story to a lot of us. I hadn't realized the ideas about time management and decision making that are an integral part of the story until I saw this Bible study by Stephen Cole at

Sometimes our thoughts turn to how short our time is here on earth and we begin to wonder how well we are using each moment. These thoughts usually pop up when we have to open up a new calendar to begin a new year or sometimes it is a death of a family member or friend that makes us think about the importance of using our time wisely.

There are so many options that are pulling at us to use up more and more of our time. In the old days we were concerned with our vocation eating our time but in our society the television, the internet and our cell phones are all on the list of things that are eager to consume large chunks of our time.

I wonder almost everyday if God is happy with the way that we use our time. I wonder how much my life should look like the people in the early church. I wonder if we should spend less time on day to day stuff that doesn't have much eternal impact. How much of a "fanatic" should a Christ follower be?  How different should he look from the rest of the world?

Looking at the story of Lazarus we see that Jesus puzzled the people that were around him, they blamed him for the tragic outcome of not taking action right away, his time management skills were being questioned. It turns out that Jesus has a different system for making decisions:

How Jesus did not make decisions:

1. Jesus did not make decisions based on the pressure of His friends (John 11:1-4).
2. Jesus did not make decisions based on the emotions of the moment (John 11:5-6).
3. Jesus did not make decisions based on the threats of His enemies (John 11:7-11).

How Jesus did make decisions:

1. Jesus made decisions based on what would glorify God (John 11:4).
2. Jesus made decisions based on walking in the light of God’s purposes (John 11:9-10).
3. Jesus made decisions based on helping others come to faith and helping them grow in faith (John 11:15, 25-26, 42, 45).

Jesus always kept his purpose in focus, everything that he did was to help us believe that he is the Messiah, he didn't allow anything to distract him from his mission. Jesus delay created an opportunity to help the disciples to grow in their faith and it helped prove his identity as the Messiah to those that didn't believe yet.

We use our time correctly only when we live in submission to God’s purposes for our life. Instead of a short sighted evaluation about how to use our time we should look at our use of time in light of eternity.

God’s glory takes priority above everything else. I need to make my life count for God's purposes and for his glory. I need to pray that I will do his will on earth so that others will come to know him and to help them grow deeper in their faith.