But First—Let Me….

Scripture 13th Sunday OT http://usccb.org/bible/readings/063019.cfm

I remember my father saying frequent as I was growning-up, “he who hesitates is lost.”  I do not know if that was from successful practiced experience by him, or with a sense of longing for missed opportunities in his own life.

“But first”… “another thing”… “time out”… “slow your roll”… and “let me think about it” are frequently sounded to signal a delay of game, a pause. Now I am not suggesting that taking time to think things through is necessarily a bad thing, unless it leads to inertia or more critically, a pattern of inertia and hesitancy in life. 

I vaguely remember from high school physics that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. In the study of Economics one learns about risk preferences with some willing to take more calculated and informed risks and other more risk averse. All of which probably permeates one’s life.

Well and good for most of life… knowing when to venture out and when to hold back is probably a gift of wisdom because there is no intuitive reason one should do foolish or dangerous things because of bad judgement, but a universal blanket of inertia and a unduly high propensity for risk avoidance can rob one of significant opportunities for growth, enjoyment, and fulfillment.

We have a small hint of hesitancy in today’s Scripture. Elisha tells Elijah, “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you.” In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus invites two people to “Follow me” and one replies, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father,” and the other responds, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”

Jesus responds to the later invitee, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” You see, one who is plowing and looks back plows a crooked furrow- not good use of the land and quite inefficient for irrigating the fields.  Looking back wastes resources, is distracting, and takes one’s attention from the here and now and diminishes focus on the “what’s next.”


-Are there times in your life that you were/are hesitant and missed an opportunity for growth, enjoyment, or fulfillment?

-Is your life characterized by inertia? What would others say about your response? (Test it and ask someone who knows you well)

-How often in your life does hesitancy lead to inaction?

-Has God, is God asking something of you that you are not responding too? Are you waiting for a “better time?” A better time for you, or for God, or for others? What is it you think you should “do first” and then respond to God.

-Are you afraid to respond to God because you might fail, or because you might succeed and God may ask more of you and “you’re good for now?”

– Do you have a well balanced bias for action, or do you live in the extremes of inaction or immediate “knee-jerk” responses?

– Do you believe that God only wants you well-being?

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