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Prayerful waiting on God is indispensable to effective service.  Like the time-out in a football game, it enables us to catch our breath and fix new strategy.  As we wait for directions the Lord frees us from the tyranny of the urgent.  He shows us the truth about Himself, ourselves, and our tasks.  He impresses on our minds the assignments He wants us to undertake.  The need itself is not the call; the call must come from the God who knows our limitations.  “The Lord pities those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14).  It is not God who loads us until we bend or crack with an ulcer, nervous breakdown, heart attack, or stroke.  These come from our inner compulsions coupled with the pressure of circumstances.

 

EVALUATE

 

The modern businessman recognizes this principle of taking time out for evaluation.  When Greenwalt was president of DuPont, he said, “one minute spent in planning saves three or four minutes in execution.”  Many salesmen have revolutionized their business and multiplied their profits by setting aside Friday afternoon to plan carefully the major activities for the coming week.  If an executive is too busy to stop and plan, he may find himself replaced by another man who takes time to plan.  If the Christian is too busy to stop, take spiritual inventory, and receive his assignments from God, he becomes a slave to the tyranny of the urgent.  He may work day and night to achieve much that seems significant to himself and others, but he will not finish the work God has for him to do.

 

A quiet time of meditation and prayer at the start of the day refocuses our relationship with God.  Recommit yourself to His will as you think of the hours that follow.  In these unhurried moments list in order of priority the tasks to be done, taking into account commitments already made.  A competent general always draws up his battle plan before he engages the enemy; he does not postpone basic decisions until the firing starts.  But he is also prepared to change his plans if an emergency demands it.  So try to implement the plans you have made before the day’s battle against the clock begins.  But be open to any emergency interruptions or unexpected person who may call.

 

You may also find it necessary to resist the temptation to accept an engagement when the invitation first comes over the telephone.  No matter how clear the calendar may look at the moment, ask for a day or two to pray for guidance before committing yourself.  Surprisingly the engagement often appears less imperative after the pleading voice has become silent.  If you can withstand the urgency of the initial moment, you will be in a better position to weigh the cost and discern whether the task is God’s will for you.

 

In addition to your daily quiet time, set aside one hour a week for spiritual inventory.  Write an evaluation of the past, record anything God may be teaching you, and plan objectives for the future.  Also try to reserve most of one day each month for a similar inventory of longer range.  Often you will fail.  Ironically, the busier you get the more you need this time of inventory, but the less you seem to be able to take it.  You become like the fanatic, who, when unsure of his direction, doubles his speed.  And frenetic service for God can become an escape

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