Monday / January 16 / 2012
Do you react or respond?
The scorching honesty with which Pastor Phil spoke yesterday was stimulating. He breathed life into a story he unearthed from his father’s 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 son, “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.”
Once I altered one 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).
The man reacted by standing.
He responded with a clever comment.
The key is, you choose to react or respond. You always have a choice. Every choice you make matters.
Today, I encourage you (I implore you)…. 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, my friends. Choose to respond well.