It’s not always easy to be this discerning. Putting our emotions away and putting the rulebook first takes some effort on our part. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
The role of the referee in any sport is critical. Without the referee the rules of the game would have to be self imposed by the coaches and the players. The rulebook for play would always be there; just the matter of interpretation and enforcement would be in question. The referee has an especially hard role to play for a number of reasons not the least of which is impartiality. Here is where their discernment really comes into play. Referees have emotions like all of us as well as allegiances. Nevertheless, these must always be set aside when it comes to enforcing the rules. On the one hand there is always the temptation to enforce the rules more readily with a player who is belligerent and uncooperative. Conversely, when dealing with a player who is cooperative and well liked, the temptation to ease up is there as well. To overcome the challenge, a referee needs to be the epitome of discernment. He needs to bow to the rules and assume the position of rulebook first and players second.
It’s not always easy to be this discerning. Putting our emotions away and putting the rulebook first takes some effort on our part. It may involve assuming a position of servitude and obedience we might find uncomfortable, but vital to the success of our mission of disciple and servant of God.
Here’s a story. During World War II, an officer was briefing his men on how to take a certain objective. The objective provided little if any cover from enemy fire. It was, however, on a slope so that enemy rifles would find it difficult to aim low enough to target soldiers that didn’t provide a standing or crouching target. The officer got his men in a huddle and described how he thought the hill and the bunker should be approached. Although his men nodded in agreement, he detected he wasn’t presenting his strategy clearly enough as there was question of whether or not each every soldier in his command would be discerning despite his words. So, he decided to show his men personally what he meant. He demonstrated to them the manner in which they needed to hug the ground so as to stay below enemy fire. He said in conclusion, “If you advance on your knees, you will always be safe, even though it will be more tedious and uncomfortable.” (Source unknown.)
Like those soldiers you and I are often called to some difficult challenges in life, especially those that deal with other people whom we love and feel responsible for. Our inclination is to be emotional, allow the feeling of the moment to carry us to our objective. Those soldiers wanted to take that hill with boldness and courage, not crawl up it in stealth. Many is the referee, sympathetic to the persona of a particular athlete, who is tempted to put away the rulebook for the moment and be bold and befriend the crowd. Ultimately, however, discernment is the key to succeeding in these instances, not abandon. God is calling you and I to discernment, especially when it comes to putting his rulebook, his Word, first and our emotions second. We see an objective, a friend who is suffering in some way, and we cry out, “Not on my watch!” We drop to our knees in prayer and pull God into running up that hill with us. God, of course, wants our involvement; he doesn’t, however, need our swagger. We insult God with our swagger. Our prayer ought to be, “Not on YOUR watch Lord!” We need to get down on our knees and crawl up that hill, leaving our emotions and allegiances behind us. Our boldness is in Christ and should never be in ourselves. We were made for abiding and crawling, not striving and charging. Discernment.
We pray. Thank you Lord for giving us opportunities in prayer to intercede for others who need your help Lord. Forgive us Lord, when we shift the emphasis of that prayer from you to us. Make us discerning Lord so that we are always reminded of the role you have given us as disciples to be intercessors and not gladiators for the faith. May we always be abiders and not strivers in the faith. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for t
omorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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