Summary: Spiritual indecision leads to sickness and ultimately to death. We are scared of taking risks. Black history shows us, however, that without accepting risk there is no progress.
You should be a fly on the wall around our house on Friday evenings. You see, Friday evenings are our night for ourselves. We try not to take on church things on Fridays, and unless you are at the point of death, you can wait for your pastoral call until Saturday morning. The pastor and his bride like to go out to a restaurant on Friday evening. But you really should be a fly on the wall, listening to us try to decide exactly where we are going to eat.
She suggests a Thai restaurant; she’s fond of satay, which to me looks like overpriced stringy meat drowned in curry sauce and skewered on a stick so that it looks bigger. So instead of Thai, I suggest Greek. Someplace with spanakopita and pastititios, with moussaka and the all-important baklava for dessert. Besides I can trot out a few words of New Testament Greek, learned in seminary many years ago. But she says Greek is too heavy, too spicy, too fattening. No Greek.
After more hemming and hawing, she counters with Chinese – speaking of hot and sour soup and moo goo gai pan and eight-treasure chicken. I shrug my shoulders, with a been-there-done-that look, and mention a Tex-Mex place I’ve heard about. Well, the word on that type of place is that it’s apt to be noisy, the barflies will be yelling, the TV sports will be blaring, and there’s no ambience. She will always want ambience, whatever that is.
And so what do you think happens? Out of an hour’s discussion on the pros and cons of every kind of food you can imagine, we settle on a tried and true place, with steaks and a salad bar, that we’ve gone to for nearly thirty years. But when we get there, the parking lot is full, the waiting line is long, and the evening is a mess. Why? What ruined our Friday night joy? Nothing less than indecision. Nothing less than being up in the air. The paralysis of analysis. Indecision steals our joy.
The truth is that more things than Friday nights are ruined by indecision. If you are up in the air about what you are going to do, before long the moment is gone and the prize has vanished. Let one of Michael’s Wizards give in to a fleeting instant of indecision, and somebody has slapped that basketball out of his hands. Put it up in the air and scored because our Wizard was up in the air about what to do. More opportunities are lost, more joy is lost, more victory is lost, from indecision, than this world dreams of. Some of us are always up in the air.
And here’s the real kicker: if you are indecisive, you are likely to put off some decisions until a crisis moment. And then, because you are so unused to making decisions, you still will not decide. You will freeze. You will not take any choices at all. If you insist on staying up in the air about decisions you really need to make, when it gets down to the crunch, not only will your joy be gone, but your choices will be gone too.
I’ve seen people in their 70’s and 80’s, with their health declining, their systems weakening; it’s perfectly obvious that death cannot be too many years away. But, no, they haven’t made a will. We’re up in the air about what to do with our property. We’ll think about it tomorrow. And when tomorrow finally gets here, because somebody stayed up in the air, the taxman gets the bulk and the family fights over the rest. If you live up in the air, in a pattern of indecision, you may not only lose your joy, you may lose something very precious.
I’ve seen people who needed medical attention go into denial and tell themselves they’ll be all right in the morning – no need to call the doctor – but there wasn’t any morning. If you live in a pattern of indecision, you may not only lose your joy, you may lose your very life.
And I’ve seen people so spiritually sick it was pitiful. But they wouldn’t get down to a decision for Christ. Undecided, unclear, unsettled, unsure, and without hope. Sick into their very core with everything going wrong, from job to family to finances to health, but unwilling to decide for the Great Physician. Sick into their soul’s center with loneliness and hurt and rejection, but unwilling to decide for Jesus to be the lover of their souls. Sick unto death with sin, but unwilling to decide for forgiveness. Sick and yet unwilling to decide.
When you are up in the air, there isn’t anything to hold you up. If you stay up in the air about how you use your life, you lose your joy. If you stay up in the air about where you will invest your resources, you will lose precious things. If you stay up in the air about your health, you will lose your life. And if you stay up in the air about Jesus Christ, you will lose eternity itself. Being forever up in the air is death.