STOP AND THINK - To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. (Nelson Mandela, late president of South Africa)
When we think of freedom, we’re often thinking of it as a personal right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In other words, we’re proud and pleased that we have personal freedom from bondage. Mandela, having suffered imprisonment for his political views, understood that we must be equally considered that all citizens can enjoy freedom.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).
STOP AND THINK - You know you have a problem with pride when you cannot rejoice in someone else’s promotion. (Tiberius Rata, seminary professor)
How do you respond when you hear of someone’s advancement in his profession? What if it’s a fellow staff person? Are you happy for him or her? Do you congratulate them and wish them well? Or, are you a bit envious, hurt, perhaps, because you didn’t receive a similar promotion? Pride sometimes prevents us from enjoying the success of others.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).
STOP AND THINK - When feelings become more important than faith, people will become more important, and God will become less important. (Edward T. Welch, theologian, author)
Society more and more seems to live by feelings. “If it feels good, do it,” some would say. But feelings are fleeting. Sometimes, it’s almost day-by-day. Other times, our emotions change because of growth, new relationships, or special events. Author Jerry Bridges’ counsel is wise, “Our emotions must become subservient to the truth.”
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).
STOP AND THINK - Great minds discuss about ideas; Average minds discuss about events; Small minds talk about people. (Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd president of the USA)
When a group of people get together, the conversation might be about sports, entertainment, health, or politics. Eventually, it usually devolves into discussions about people or events. Roosevelt’s observation is a challenge to think more deeply, discuss the great ideas that have influenced society. That will be a rich, rewarding enlightenment for all.
Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children . . . but in your thinking be adults (1 Corinthians 14:20).
STOP AND THINK – The best training is in service rather than for service. (Paraphrase of Tom Julien, author)
Whether it’s a regular or technical school, we expect the graduates to be adequately trained for their work. Experience demonstrates, however, that the best learning is on-the-job- training. Julien adds, “Training that is disassociated with service can easily become [merely] theory.” Effective learning is closely tied both to the mind and the hand.
[Leaders in the church are] to equip [God’s] people for works of service (Ephesians 4:11-12 paraphrased).
STOP AND THINK - Generosity is not about money; it’s about attitude. (Author unknown)
We usually think that to be generous you have to have a lot of money. Someone has said that generosity is the attitude of true wealth, but it may not just be money he was thinking of. Time and skills can be shared generously, too. Often, it’s the less wealthy who are generous. If we determine to share what we have, our generosity will be a blessing to many.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously (2 Corinthians 9:6).
STOP AND THINK - Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be spent. (Carl Sandberg)
Time is one of those rare elements of life over which we have some control. Once we’ve reached adulthood and are free to exercise our will, as Sandberg suggests, we are the ultimate choosers of how to use our discretionary time. He also gives this warning, “Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” Trust God and use your time wisely.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8).
STOP AND THINK - Superficiality is the curse of our age, (Richard J. Foster, Quaker theologian and author)
When we see all the glitz and glamour of modern culture as portrayed in Hollywood and the inane content of TV sitcoms, we very likely would agree with Foster. He says further, “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” Serious thought is essential for productive living.
Apostle Peter: “I have written both of [my letters] as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking (2 Peter 3:1).
STOP AND THINK – A master in the art of living . . . pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. (Francois Auguste René Chateaubriand, 18th & 19th century French writer and diplomat)
The writer continues, “To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” The line between labor and leisure is often defined by the time clock—whether we are at the factory or the office or away from the “job.” But the difference may not be that great when you are deeply involved in a productive project which you are invested in and greatly enjoy.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed. (2 Timothy 2:15). Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart (Colossians 3:23).
STOP AND THINK - Men will not consider, will not look ahead, will not look around them, will not reflect on the end of their present course, and the sure consequences of their present days, and wake up to find they are damned for a lack of thinking. (J. C Ryle, 19th century Anglican bishop)
Ryle wrote about “Dangers For Young Men” more than a century ago, but the same warnings are valid today not only for young men but for all of us, as well. We are inclined to accept what we find on the Internet or hear from the “talking heads” on TV without giving thought to what we’re hearing and reading. It would be wise to listen and think clearly.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble . . . right . . . pure . . . lovely . . . admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things (Philippians 4:8).