Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- September 15, 2011
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
It is a temptation for followers of Jesus Christ to drift into naïve living. There can be disengagement with life that becomes irresponsible, but Jesus said, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15). It is engagement in the world that gives Christians relational equity with unbelievers. We are called to trust others, but to simultaneously verify their words and actions.
Parents do this with their children when they confirm that their homework assignments are complete. Adolescents have to be reminded to take their backpacks to their bedrooms, and warned not to snack before dinner. Loving moms and dads keep an eye out for their child (sometimes in the back of their heads it seems), as they have one trusting eye of encouragement, and one somewhat skeptical eye of accountability.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
The same can be said about your work. If you think everything is ok all the time, you will one day abruptly discover it is not. Wise managers, leaders and associates hunt down bad news and cage it with critical collaboration and solutions. They seek to understand its source and not repeat the same mistake twice. Negative trends can be your friend if they are diagnosed early and dealt with thoroughly. There is a practical paranoia when filtered through prayer that is productive, necessary and responsible.
Furthermore, reward the candor of concerned team members. When they speak up and seem somewhat cynical, their passionate prognosis means they care. Be wise and daily discern the meaning of important data like sales reports and your child’s mid-term report card. Prayerfully and thoughtfully interpret the information, make adjustments by faith, and then carry on in confidence knowing you have done your part. Servants of Jesus are shrewd to discern the times and wise to prayerfully adjust accordingly.
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3).
What opportunity or person am I facing that requires extra discernment and prayer?
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