In life, we mostly regret the absence of caution. Hasty words, rash actions, calamitous decisions, blight countless lives.
We often do things in haste, and repent at leisure. There is an old Russian proverb, ‘one seldom ever repents of having waited.’ Yet I imagine that that for every man who makes a mess of things because he was not cautious enough, there are many more who live lives of quiet desperation because they were too cautious.
That’s the thrust of a verse from an Old Testament sage. The preacher of Ecclesiastes had seen life and seen it whole, and he had known people who were risk-averse, too timid, too cautious. So he wrote, ‘Whoever watches the wind will not plant, whoever looks at clouds will not reap’(Ecclesiastes 11;4) One commentator remarked, ‘No verse in the Bible contains more common sense than this.’ and the Living Bible distilled the message,’ If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.’ In Our Lord’s parable of the talents,(Matthew 25;14-30) the one-talent -man was rebuked by his master? Because he was too cautious! He said ‘I was afraid....and I hid you talent in the earth.’ He was rebuked because he did not bother to earn even a measure of interest with the bankers. He was too cautious, and he lost everything.
Conrad Hilton would not have built up his world-wide hotel chain if he had been too cautious. The first hotel he ever bought was auctioned under a ‘sealed bid’ technique. He sealed his bid of 160,000 dollars. The night before the bids were due to be opened, he had a hunch it would not be enough. He rose from his bed, and increased his bid by $20,000. He got the hotel, but only just! The second bid was a mere $200 less!
There are areas of life where caution can be costly. The person who hears the call of Christ, and focuses only on doubts which sceptics raise, or the mockery he might experience from friends, will miss life’s greatest adventure. The person who defined faith as ‘betting one’s life there is a God’, knew that in spiritual things, caution can be costly.
A Gospel Mission is being held in Portstewart Town Hall until Friday 30th September each night at 8pm. Preacher: Rev Roger Higginson (Coleraine). Special subject for the Mission: “Matters of Life and Death”. The final meeting of the Mission will be held in Coleraine Free Presbyterian Church on Sunday 2nd October at 6:30pm. All welcome! mission.colerainefpc.org