Monday / January 16 / 2012
Do you react or respond?
The scorching honesty with which Phil spoke yesterday was stimulating. Never mind that he turned out to be the “killer” at the murder mystery, this boy preaches with the best of ’em. Gotta love God’s sense of humor.
Along those lines, we’ve opted not to call Phil “murderer” (too difficult to explain at church picnics). Rather, we call him Father Philizzle. It’s fitting. And yesterday, Philizzle breathed life into a story he unearthed from his father’s 30-40 years’ worth of sermon notes. The story was entitled, “The danger of falling asleep in church,” and goes something like this…
There was a member of the congregation, who kept falling asleep during the sermon, so the pastor crafted a plan. As the man slept, the pastor asked everyone to stand who would like to go to heaven. Everyone stood except the sleeping congregant. He then said, “Please stand if you would like to go to hell,” as he slammed a gavel on the podium, startling the sleeping man, who shot straight up to a standing position. Everyone laughed. Once the laughter subsided, the man looked at the pastor and remarked, “I don’t know what we’re voting on, Pastor, but it looks like you and I are the only ones in agreement.”
I always taught my children, “Life is a series of reactions. Throughout life you will be dealt a hand of great things, terrible things, and everything in between. Your life will be determined by the way you react to those things.”
But once I altered one small but key word, I began to really communicate. “Life is a series of responses.” — not reactions.
At first glance, the words “react” and “respond” seem interchangeable. In fact, in a thesaurus are often considered synonyms for one another. But the difference is powerfully distinct. I think Zig Ziglar says it best in his popular quote, “To respond is positive, to react is negative.”
Choosing whether you react or respond can have a dramatic effect on how your day, or life for that matter, unfolds (as is evidenced by the reaction of the man sleeping in church). He reacted by standing. He responded with a clever comment.
The key word that works in conjunction with either word is, “choose”. You choose to either react or respond. Every choice you make matters.
The church Philizzle pastors is Christ Church, the same church where Hubs works as music director. The choice we’ve made as a church to respond to the needs of the community is evidenced on a slide on our homepage, which reads, “Everyone’s invited! Young and old. Rich and poor. Straight and gay. Liberal and conservative.”
Respond to your one-of-a-kind life by choosing to live life fully. Choose to invest in yourself. Choose to invest in others.
Life is a series of responses. Choose to respond well.