What to do when you don’t know what to do

by Stan Mitchell

Some people expect the preacher to stand in the pulpit and tell them what to do. There are times when this is relatively easy. The Bible leaves little doubt when it comes to such things as sexual immorality or pride.

Believe it or not, however, the preacher doesn’t always have the answers. There are times when one must choose, not between good and evil, but between good and better.

And when it comes to personal relationships, the best thing is not always a simple thing to determine.

  • Who was right?
  • Who was wrong?
  • Whose version of the story can I believe?

Usually there is a little bit of fault on both sides!

Shall I get a job in a city where the church is strong, or serve the church in a place where it is weak, and could use my help, says the church member?

Shall I marry this person or wait, asks the young person? Should I go to college, or try to make money immediately?

There are no simple answers to these sort of questions.

Life is usually more complicated than a bumper sticker slogan. You can’t always unravel life’s tangles in the time-space of the thirty-minute sitcom. So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do?

* You can pray. This is always a good place to start.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, ESV).

* You can continue to search God’s word for guidance.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…” (Proverbs 3:5).

* You can trust God’s wisdom and goodness. “Casting all your anxieties on him,” Peter advises us, “because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

When you don’t know what to do, you trust the God who does.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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