Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!
“What’s the first rule in life?”
If you asked that question of Buzz and Ben (two of our sons) they would give you this answer, “Don’t Panic.” We’ll talk about that, but I was at that time a single father raising the two very young ones. It seemed appropriate.
I like to define the terms of a discussion, and while I’m pretty sure we all have in our minds the general import of the word “panic,” here is what my friend, dictionary.com tells us about it: “A sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.” The operative words there are “hysterical” “irrational” and “behavior” and that’s what we want to avoid. There’s never a time for hysterical or irrational behavior; we want to make it a practice not to practice the same, but it can happen. To guard against such, we try to stay calm, look before we leap, believing that usually the situation is not as bad as we think it is. There’s a silver lining somewhere in that cloud. With all the manure around, there’s got to be a pony somewhere!
Don’t panic! It’s some combination of positive thinking and patient acting. Look for the solution, keep a cool head, and see what transpires. The English general and statesman Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) said it this way when addressing his army during the invasion of Ireland: “Put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry!" I’ve heard stories of “buck fever” taking place when an inexperienced hunter gets a deer in his sights, and then, rather than pulling the trigger he panics and jacks all of his shells out of the rifle. Buck fever! Panic. It’s not productive.
Are there times to act quickly, times when there is simply not time to establish a blue ribbon committee and take a vote? Yes there are. If the boilers are sure to blow any second, it’s time to abandon ship. It’s fair to say that we need wisdom in the timing of our actions. We’ve usually got quite a bit of time in this life, but then, as we wrote the other day, “Time goes fast on game day.” We’ve got all kinds of chances in terms of days to make our eternal decisions, but then, in terms of our life, we’ve got one chance, and that chance can come to a sudden end. You’ve probably got today (maybe not), probably got this week (maybe not), and probably got this month, but there are no guarantees. Take a look at your Bible, listen to someone who knows something about the Bible, but get informed. Know that the Rich Man in Luke chapter 16 should have acted more quickly, and now he lives in torment, regretting his lack of action forever.
“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1.) “…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2.) When Cromwell told his soldiers to “trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry” they were not sitting around the campfire philosophizing, they were attacking. The uninformed regarding Christ needs to make a decision; the Christian sitting on the fence needs to make a decision. Don’t panic, but don’t fall asleep at the switch either. They can both be lethal, either in terms of one’s eternal salvation, or in terms of one’s opportunity to serve Christ.
What’s the first rule in life? Jesus Christ is the first rule in life! And that’s for sure!
Love and Prayers to you all,