Friday, October 28, 2011
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Well, as the years go by, we get more and more perspective on the presidency of Ronald Reagan. For example, people who were in his administration began writing books like crazy, telling everything they knew. And people, you know, have started to feel free to tell us what they saw, what they heard, especially behind the scenes.
It's kind of interesting to learn about the late President's style of leadership. One of his close associates told us about some of the major decisions that President Reagan had to make and how he approached them. He said, "When the decision was particularly tough, President Reagan would ask a key question." Now, don't laugh; this is serious. "What would John Wayne do?" That's right. Oh, now, we can laugh and say, "Oh, come on! What would John Wayne do?"
Well, whether or not you agree with all of President Reagan's decisions, I think we have to agree he made some good ones along the way that helped part of our economy, and helped resolve some very difficult international conflicts, and changed the world. Now, I don't know how much the John Wayne question contributed to the process, but President Reagan was on the track of the right kind of question anyway. Not just for his decisions, but for the ones that you're facing right now.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Question That Settles the Questions."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 2:21, "To this you were called..." Wow! Okay, I guess here's your destiny. This is an important verse. "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps." Actually that word example in the original Greek in the New Testament? It's the word for the copy head that was on the top of a child's slate when he was learning to do the alphabet. So, like you make an A like the A you see at the top on the copy head. You make your B like the B at the top, and it will come out just right.
Well, this passage was written to some slaves with harsh masters. Now how should they respond? This is an unfair, painful situation they were in. Basically, Peter says, "Do what Jesus would do; copy Him. He gave you an example, now follow in His steps," which suggests the question that settles so many of life's questions. Not what would John Wayne do, with all respects to Ronald Reagan, but "What would Jesus do?"
Charles Sheldon wrote one of the great classics of Christian fiction years ago called In His Steps after the words of this verse. It was about a community that was transformed because the people in one church made their bottom line that question, "What would Jesus do?" And the publisher of the newspaper said, "Okay, what would Jesus do in a newspaper?" And a wealthy lady said, "Well, what would Jesus do about the poor in this town?" And the pastor said, "What would Jesus preach about?" And an ambitious musician said, "What would Jesus do?" And it changed everything. It literally is your destiny to live by that simple question, "What would Jesus do?"
Put Jesus into the choices you're facing now. What would Jesus do in that business transaction you're in the middle of? How would He respond to that difficult person? How would He respond to that stressful situation? What would Jesus do if He knew about the wrong thing that's going on; the one that you know about? What would He do about that need that you could do something about? What would He do about the poor people in your community? What would He do about the lost people you know? What would Jesus do? Start to pray that way. I think a lot of the fog in your decisions will start to clear. It will simplify greatly what could otherwise be a confusing decision.
And then risk it! Have the courage to do what Jesus would do. What would John Wayne do? Well, that's a little shaky basis for a decision. But what would Jesus do? If that's your bottom line all day every day, you won't go wrong.