by J. Randal Matheny, editor
They were called to war. But they stayed home discussing what to do. For their “great indecision,” they did not go to the front, but sat among the flocks listening to the whistles of the shepherds. They missed out on Israel’s victory! What a shameful moment for the tribe of Reuben! (For this story, see Judges 5.15-16 NLT.)
Some Bible versions translated their great indecision as great searches of the heart, or they thought long and hard about it. So long in fact, that they never got up and went. Perhaps they even affirmed their decision, but they failed to grab their arms and go to war.
The tribe of Reuben did not send a letter to their brethren declining to participate. They only made great speeches or debated among themselves about the propriety of the conflict.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
- Am I going to church today?
- One of these days I’m going to become a Christian.
- Very soon I’ll follow Jesus.
- We need to think carefully about getting involved in missions.
- I really need to get out of this compromising situation.
The deliberations come in all shapes and sizes. Indecision appears with many faces. But they are all mere words. Action is lacking. Commitment is missing. Like the tribe of Reuben, many remain among the flocks in a constant state of indecision and heated debate.
For many, indecision saves people from obligation. Passivity becomes the easy way of refusal. Be it for fear or laziness or love of the world, lack of action responds to the call of Christ with a negative answer.
A popular website recently published an article titled, “Eight ways to say ‘yes’.” In the spiritual realm, there are a thousand ways to refuse God’s call. Indecision is one of those ways. But there is only one way to accept the gospel: obedient faith in Christ Jesus.
Indecision often bloats life with many activities, in order to prevent one from thinking about the invitation to follow the Master. People invent excuses of caring for parents, seeing about their properties and possessions, taking care of business (see Luke 9.56,62 and Luke 14.15-24). We fill life with things and tasks, and we lose the abundant life that Christ offers.
Jesus said, ““Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me” (Matthew 12.30).