Max Lucado calls them “dynamite decisions.”
There was an old farmer, Sam, who always took the trophy in the fishing tournament with the biggest catch. While other fishermen caught a few, Sam would come in with a boatload of fish!
The new game warden became suspicious and asked Sam to take him fishing. In the middle of the lake, Sam pulls out a stick of dynamite, lights it and throws it into the water. Boom! When hundreds of stunned fish float to the surface, Sam takes out a net and snags them all up.
The warden is outraged. “You can’t do that!” he screams, “Do you know how many laws you’ve broken?” Calmly, Sam lights another stick of dynamite, hands it to the game warden and says, “Well, are you gonna sit there all day complaining, or are you gonna fish?”
Life is filled with decisions. Some are easy. Some are difficult. And some have to be made in an instant, like the game warden! No doubt his decision was made quickly as he went from being a spectator to a participant.
On the Friday of Jesus’ betrayal, trial and crucifixion, some tough decisions had to be made. Some pretty quickly. Peter, James and John found out. In a moment they went from slumber in the garden to energized action.
As Judas planted a traitor’s kiss on his Master’s cheek, the solider seized Jesus. Suddenly Peter unsheathed his sword and swung it, cutting off Malchus’ ear. As quickly, Jesus rebuked Peter. Then they all ran. Mark says so. “Then everyone deserted him and fled” (Mk. 14:50).
Yes, the very ones who pledged allegiance to Jesus, who said they would die with him, ran! Like a scalded dog! They ran! They forsook Jesus. Abandoned him. And ran to save their own skin.
Oh, Peter came back, but decided to follow safely at a distance. Then while warming at the campfire, quickly denied even knowing Jesus. Once. Twice. Three times!
The hastily called Council, without forethought or evidence, convicted Christ of blasphemy. I wonder if the suborned witnesses ever looked back and regretted their decision to perjure themselves and lie about Jesus. The crowd whipped into a frenzy, impetuously cried out for Jesus’ death. “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate went against his better judgment. He knew Jesus was innocent. “What evil has he done?” the Governor asked. But his rash decision was political.
It was a Friday of decisions. Weak decisions. Bad decisions. Scared decisions. Cowardly decisions. Evil decisions.
It’s easy to be critical. But haven’t we all been there? Faced with an issue of right or wrong, we can too often abruptly make a wrong decision.
Angry words hurled in the direction of an antagonist. Or juicy gossip about a fellow church member is shared with someone. A businessman misrepresents his product to make a quick buck. The college student, away from home, joins the “party scene” of the cool kids on campus. A Christian couple on a date allow their emotions to overrule their values and engage in promiscuous behavior. A deacon becomes enamored with another member’s wife and they soon find themselves in an illicit relationship. Or it could be pride fills our heart to exaggerate the truth and overstate our accomplishments or success.
Friday’s foolish decisions. Careless. Unplanned. Impulsive. But no less hurtful and destructive.
But there is Good News! Sunday’s coming! Resurrection Sunday brings redemption. Reconciliation. Restoration.
Bad decisions don’t have to define the rest of your life. Ask Peter, James or John.
As for the future? Impetuous decisions don’t have to blow up in your face. Follow Jesus’ advice to the apostles in Gethsemane’s garden: “ Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Mk. 14:38).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman