Presence of Mind

“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”

1 Peter 4:7

If ever there was a time in the history of the world where it’s critically important that the children of God keep their presence of mind it is now. Every decision we make comes with a consequence and as the following explanation of an accident report submitted to an insurance company illustrates, if we don’t make good choices the results often times are painful.

“I’m a bricklayer by trade, and on the day of the accident, I was working on the roof of a new six story building. When I completed my work, I discovered I had about 600lbs of bricks left over. Rather than carry them down by hand, I decided to lower them down in a barrel by using a pulley which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up on the roof, swung the barrel up, and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 600lbs of bricks.

You will note in block number 11 of the reporting form that I weigh 135lbs. Due to my surprise at being jerked up off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and I forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down and this explains the fractured skull and the broken collar bone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep in the pulley — and this explains the lacerations on my right hand.

Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and I was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my great pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50lbs. I refer you again to my weight of 135lbs in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building, and in the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel coming up — and this accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations of my leg and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me down and lessened my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks — and fortunately only three vertebrate were broken.

I’m sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks, in pain, unable to stand, looking up at the empty barrel six stories above me, again I lost my presence of mind and I let go of the rope.”

This humorous story illustrates that many of the choices we make on a daily basis are instinctive more than they are calculated. In other words, the vast majority of the decisions most people make each day are in response to a situation they encounter, planned or otherwise. All the more reason we need to learn to rely on the Word of God and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It was the psalmist who said, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (Psalm 119:9) and is why King David would write, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

The best choices you and I can make each day are choices that honor God and bring glory to His name and one of the best ways to do that are, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). None of us will go through life unscathed but we all can minimize the self inflicted pain of wrong choices by learning how to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Timing is everything so start by letting go and letting God.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”

Romans 12:2


Michael Osthimer





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