Once upon a time there was a certain farmer who took his hired hand out to the potato bin and gave him the job of sorting and sacking the potato crop. “Put the large potatoes in the first pile,” he said. “Put the medium sized one in the second pile and put the small potatoes in the third pile.”
A few hours later when the farmer came by to check on the project, he found the hired hand sitting despondently before three tiny stacks of potatoes. There were only a few potatoes in each pile.
“What in the world is wrong?” the farmer asked. “At this rate it will take you forever! The job can’t be all that hard.” Shamefaced, the hired man replied, “No sir, the job is easy. What is getting me down is all of these tough decisions!”
Life, it seems to me, is made up of one decision after another. Don’t you find it so? And quite often the seemingly little decisions turn out to be the most important and life changing decisions that we make. How can we go about it in such a way as to better make the right decisions?
The first step is to be found in the book of Isaiah: “In quietness and trust shall be your strength.” When you are faced with making a decision, be quiet and simply relax. Begin with your body. That’s the closest thing to you. Sit down, close your eyes, and let every muscle go limp.
Next, relax your mind. Repeat three times these words which have an amazing power to help you do just that. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.”
The next step is from the book of Psalms. “Thou dost guide me by thy counsel.” Seek God’s guidance. The late J. L. Kraft of Kraft Foods once said, “I pray hard and think hard. When I have done all the praying and thinking I can do and I must act, I say, ‘Lord, show me the next thing to do.’ Then I find that God gives me the answer. My decisions have been right enough times to convince me that the process is sound.”
For the final step we return to Isaiah. “I will trust, and not be afraid.” You can count on God for guidance. E. Stanley Jones used to say, “That still small voice has never let me down. I have failed him over and over, but he has never failed me.”
Having received your answer and made your decision, act decisively and with courage. God will see you through. Whatever your situation may be, he will lead you out of your darkness into his marvelous light. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.