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Monday, May 6, 2013

The Value of Discernment



A man born in the city decided to move to the country and start a chicken farm. He bought 200 baby chicks and a farmhouse with some land around it. The chickens all quickly died. He bought 200 more baby chicks. Again, they all died. Puzzled and distressed, the man wrote to the county agricultural agent and described his problem. He concluded his letter, “I want very much to be a successful chicken farmer. Therefore, can you tell me: Have I been planting the chicks too close together or too deep?” Whereupon the county agent wrote back and said, “I can’t answer your question until you send me a soil sample.”*

Jesus had to have been frustrated with the disciples at times.  They seemed to be so dense.   Sometimes I am as well.   And yet I take great satisfaction in reading that spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

(1 Cor 2:14) 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Because of my relationship with Jesus Christ I now have a greater insight into the meaning of God’s Word. There are some passages of Scripture that we will still struggle with until we develop more in Christian growth.   But as Mark Twain once said, “Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they cannot understand. The Scripture which troubles me most is the Scripture I do understand.” It is essential that we accept and work with what we DO know as we are developing a greater understanding of the Word.

In like manner, a leader must accept and work with what he does know while he is developing a greater understanding of the situation or the circumstances with which he is dealing.  The value of discernment should not be underestimated whether spiritual or secular.  Acute observation, practiced consideration of detail, and careful insistence that unsubstantiated conclusions are avoided must become natural exercises of the leader.   This learned and exercised expertise will be of tremendous benefit as he endeavors to make important decisions.

*Adapted James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 211.

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