How many decisions do you make thinking this is only another unimportant decision you will make not realizing that this one decision could be the largest decision you ever make in your life. For example, how huge could the decision be of a student in the back seat of a car with her boyfriend? How large is the decision of a parent to allow their child to date a person? How large is the decision to do drugs the first time? How large is that decision to smoke that first cigarette that leads to years of addiction and maybe cancer? Decisions you make write your future. Decisions you make define your character. Decisions you make tremendously affect others.
Challenge to Make Great Decisions
by Delbert Young
Challenge to Make Great Decisions
Scriptures: Luke 23:4; Luke 23:7; Luke 23:12; Luke 23:16-20; Matthew 27:19; Luke 23:23-24; Matthew 27:24
(Video) It was early on the morning we call “Good Friday.” Jewish leaders put Jesus through a mock trial. They spat on and beat him in the face then took him to Pontius Pilate, the governor. The Jews wanted Pilate to execute Jesus. Pilate would make a decision.
I wonder how many people Pilate sentenced to execution on crosses before Jesus. I am certain that as he looked at this Jew named Jesus, he thought this was only another unimportant Jewish life. However, how huge was the decision he was about to make? My point is this: How many decisions do you make thinking this is only another unimportant decision you will make not realizing that this one decision could be the largest decision you ever make in your life. For example, how huge could the decision be of a student in the back seat of a car with her boyfriend? How large is the decision of a parent to allow their child to date a person? How large is the decision to do drugs the first time? How large is that decision to smoke that first cigarette that leads to years of addiction and maybe cancer? Decisions you make write your future. Decisions you make define your character. Decisions you make tremendously affect others. There are people who look to you and are dependent on your ability to make GREAT DECISIONS. Decisions either undermine or establish your competence. Great people are great because they make GREAT DECISIONS.
Today I want to talk about the CHALLENGE TO MAKE GREAT DECISIONS. Much of the remainder of Luke chapter 23 is concerned with Pilate making that decision. We know that the decision Pilate made was destiny. It had to be. Jesus had to go to the cross, but why Pilate? Why was Pilate the one to make the decision to crucify the Christ? History shows that Pilate was notoriously bad when it came to decision-making. Once he marched through Jerusalem carrying Roman “standards” (banners) with Caesar’s image on them. This was a bad move. He did this in defiance of Old Testament law forbidding any graven image. This caused a revolt by the Jews and got Pilate in trouble with Caesar. Not long after that, he built an aqueduct to bring a new water supply to the city, which was a good thing, but he financed it by taking money from the temple treasury. Again, he found himself in trouble and in a revolt in the place he was sent to keep peace. Pilate’s bad “decision making” continued after Jesus. Eventually, he made the ultimate bad decision. Pilate decided to commit suicide and did. So, why Pilate? God could count on Pilate to make a bad decision. Today, by looking at Pilate’s decision-making process, we will learn valuable principles about how to make GreatDECISIONS. (End of video)
What do you think? What degree of decision-making can the Lord count on you to make? What is your decision-making track record? Most likely, all of us would say we do well. Do we? I am sure Pilate said that too. Good or bad decision making does not usually catch you immediately. It is later that it bites or blesses.
We make decisions every day, all day. Life is about making decisions. What am I going to eat for breakfast? What will I do today? Some decisions are simple. Some decisions seem simple, but could be death threatening. For example, a decision to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a life threatening decision. How many people do you know who have injured their lives, ruined their lives, or ended their lives because they made a bad decision? For example, deciding not to stop smoking, or dating/marrying the wrong person. How many of us have made some dumb decisions? We all have, but there are people who seem to make making bad decisions a daily goal. It is one bad decision after another.
On the other hand, do you know people who seem always to make good decisions? Somehow, it seems they always do it right. What is the difference between those who seem continuously to make wrong decisions and those who usually get it right? What do they know that others do not know? Making GREAT DECISIONS is a CHALLENGE. It’s a learned skill and great people know how to make GREAT DECISIONS. In fact, that ability is near the top of the list as to why they are great.
You heard the story about the woman driving through the mountains around Denver when she ran into a snowstorm. She was disoriented, lost, and could hardly see, but decided to continue driving. She saw a snowplow and decided to follow it. She kept as close to the machine as she could while it blew snow from her path. After some time, the plow stopped, and its driver got out and walked to her car. “Lady, where are you going?” he asked. “I’m on my way to Denver,” she replied. “Well, you’ll never get there following me! I’m plowing a parking lot!”
Life is like that sometimes. We think we are on the road to our destinations when in reality; we are only doing circles in a parking lot going nowhere. We made a decision that we thought would get us to greatness – great parent, great business owner, great preacher, great employee, etc, but the decision made us appear as fools. Let’s look at some principles required to make GREAT DECISIONS.
(1) DO NOT AVOID OR PASS OFF DECISION MAKING.
Luke 23:4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find NO BASIS for a charge against this man.”
Pilate first attempted to avoid making a decision at all. He said he found no basis to charge Jesus. People who attempt to avoid making decisions procrastinate. They do not want to upset anyone or receive the blame for making a bad decision, so they attempt not to make any decision. However, by not making a decision, you are making a decision – to leave situations as they are, good or bad, and it is usually bad. We correct and adjust our destinies by making, not avoiding, decisions.
Luke 23:7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he SENT HIM TO Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
Pilate then attempted to pass making the decision off. He learned that Jesus was from Galilee. Galilee was Herod’s jurisdiction, so pass off this problem to Herod and let him make the decision. True, Galilee was Herod’s jurisdiction, but they were not in Galilee. They were in Jerusalem. That was Pilate’s jurisdiction. We should operate with correct protocol allowing others to make decisions in their jurisdiction. However, that was not the case with Pilate. This was Pilate’s call.
How do you do here? Many parents do miserably. Have any of you moms ever avoided the decision and said, “Go ask your dad?” Have any of you dads ever said, “Go ask your mother?” You knew you should make the call. It was your jurisdiction, but you passed it off. You do not want to “upset” your child, bless your heart. Well, you will never be a great parent if you are concerned about not upsetting your child. Here is the point: If you avoid or pass off decision making with your children, you most likely attempt to do it in every area of life. You will never be a GREAT DECISION maker if you look for ways to avoid and pass off making the decision. Great “decision making” will upset people, but they will RESPECT YOU BECAUSE YOU MADE A GREAT DECISION.
Years ago, I faced a serious decision. It involved a lot of people and there was no way I could make the right decision and not upset some very good people. I put it off. I tried to pass it off. I procrastinated. It was seriously affecting the church at every level. One day Judy, my wife, said to me, “If I was looking for a church, I would not select Life Gate.” She was right and I could pass it off no longer. I faced it and things rapidly improved. Did I upset people? Oh yes! I seem good at that, but Life Gate Church is an outstanding church and if you are going to have anything outstanding, you cannot avoid or pass off making decisions.
Do what you need to do to make a good decision. Calm down (you will seldom make even a decent decision when upset or angry). Get the necessary information. Get input from others. Do what you need to do, but, don’t avoid or pass off making the decision. It will only come back on you again, right.
(2) REFUSING TO MAKE A DECISION WILL COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU.
They took Jesus to Herod who mocked Jesus. Herod also refused to make a decision, and sent Jesus back to Pilate. Isn’t that what happens when you pass off making a decision that you should make? It comes back like a boomerang to hit you in the head.
Using our child decision-making analogy, go ahead mom or dad. Don’t make that decision to discipline your child, or decide to allow them to date that person you know they should not date. See if it does not come back to you. There are consequences in making a decision, but at least you and others will avoid the tragedy caused by your not making a decision.
There is a very insightful thought I want to share here.
Luke 23:12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies.
Isn’t it interesting that people who have poor decision-making skills attract people with poor decision-making skills. People with great decision-making skills, attract people with great decision-making skills. You can look around your circle and get a good idea about your decision-making abilities by the decision-making abilities of your “friends.”
(3) BE AWARE OF THE POWER OF OUTSIDE PRESSURES.
Luke 23:16-20 Therefore, I WILL punish him and then release him. With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.) Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again.
Pilate interviewed Jesus and found nothing worthy of death. He actually made a decision to punish and release Jesus. However, the outside pressures changed his decision.
Pilate even tried another ploy. He figured that the people, if faced with a decision to release Barrabas, a known murderer, or Jesus, that they would decide for Jesus. Pilate made another bad decision in even making that compromise. That compromise caused the release of a murderer and the crucifixion of Jesus.
Here is something I have learned. The masses are usually wrong. Truth is seldom determined by popular opinion. Most often, the great decision will not be the popular decision. This is true in your home or if you are the President of the USA.
Outside pressures caused Pilate to make bad decisions repeatedly. Pilate also had outside pressure from his wife. She told Pilate to leave Jesus alone.
Matthew 27:19 “…Leave that innocent man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
Yes husbands, you do need to listen to your wives. If your wife is anything like my wife, she has already spent countless hours pondering it and even dreaming about it. Why not at least check it out? Outside pressure is not always wrong. Somewhere there is correct guidance. You learn from where to get it through a process of elimination over years of decision-making. I will not make a heavy decision without running it by certain people in my life. Once, someone came to me asking my counsel concerning a situation with a person. I gave my thoughts. They told that person what I said and the person asked, “Why did you have to ask him?” They said, “Because anything he has ever counseled us to do worked out well.” Who helps you process, or do you simply listen to popular opinion?
Luke 23:23-24 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, AND THEIR SHOUTS PREVAILED. So Pilate DECIDED to grant their demand.
Pilate made the decision to crucify the Lord of Glory by the voice of popular opinion. Again, I know it had to happen, but how would you like to be responsible for that horrific decision? Do not make your decisions because of popular opinion.
(4) DO NOT DENY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and WASHED HIS HANDS in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
Don’t we wish it were that easy to avoid personal responsibility for decisions we make? Don’t you wish you could make a decision, avoid the uproar, wash your hands of it, and declare your innocence of any consequences your decision brought? It just does not work that way. Had he been a great man, he would have done what was right, and taken the consequences. Instead, his decision-making made him a coward. I want us to see that DECISIONS DETERMINE YOUR CHARACTER. Pilate is remembered for this decision. People will remember you for the decisions you made.
Students, the decisions you make today write your future and the degree of greatness you experience in your life. Your decision to study or not, obey or not, do right or not, etc will write your future. Parents, decisions determine if you are a great parent, or if you simply procreated. Your decisions greatly determine your child’s near future and destiny. Business owner, decisions will make you a great business or a bankrupted business. Employee, decisions determine your income level and future in your chosen profession. When it is all melted down, there is probably nothing more important than decisions that will determine where we end up in life. Decisions make us great or they make us failures.
(1) Do not avoid or pass off decisions you should make. (2) If you do, they will come back to haunt you. (3) Be aware of the power of outside influences – some good, some bad. (4) You cannot wash your hands of the decisions you make. Decisions write your future and your history. Decisions define your character. Decisions undermine or establish your competence. Before we pray, I want to tell you a true story. It is about a young man who walked out on his pregnant wife. He came back at the birth of his son only to decide to leave again in a few weeks. This was over four years ago. To this day, that young man cannot close his eyes at night without seeing that precious girl, holding that precious boy, begging him not to leave them. Your decisions affect others. Let’s pray…
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