Convenience stores and super-markets arrange their goods to appeal to a dark side of fallen human nature. They want us to make impusle purchases. So, I just read an article about being an impulse buyer and what makes that kind of response so easy for me. Fughedaboudit! It was about chemical and electrical synapses, the science of neurotransmitters, and physiological stuff way beyond my pay-grade. I wanted to know why I reach for a candy bar on the way out of Wally World, and what I could do to alter that irritating behavior pattern.
Exit the bio-science section and sort through the files in the science of the mind drawer, or better yet, though the pages of systematic theology. This dark heart of mine, until re-created by Christ, is totally self-absorbed and so my impulsiveness is a deep seeded implant into my selfish psyche. Impulsiveness is basically a result of chioces that are all about me. So, it makes me, and all of my other spur of the moment soul brothers, speak before we know the facts, purchase items we really don't need, pledge commitments we cannot fulfill, make touchy-feely decisions that are factually unrealistic, and all other manner of quick-draw, at-the-moment reactions to the moment. Factor in a shortage of the deliberative strength, and we're Simon Peter with a verbal miscue, or worse, a sword in our hand.
Right now I'm concerned with why so many quit, especially the 1,700 pastors who leave the ministry every month. It's not just a ministry phenom, however,this tendency to walk away from things. No, it's a cultural marker, affecting relationships, marriages, careers, church membership, civic and community commitment's, parenting, balance sheets, and just about every other entanglement that requires some kind of attachment. Suddenly, we're a Post-It Note world, not intended to stick forever.
It is, however, a ministry concern, why the exit ramp from pastoral ministry is so crowded. And, impulse may actually be a small factor. Research indentifies pages of reasons pastoral minsitry ranks are thinning. Most are dreadul truths about the dark underbelly of church and the massive mistreatment of pastors and church staff. Impulse is perhaps a minor deal here. Still, many pastors and churches act on impulse when making important staffing and ministry decisions. Our system of ministry assignment and calling doesn't always go deep or permit extensive review. All too often it's a first blush kind of deal, a decison made on the run, a process that we cover through expedient pressures rather than incisive deliberation. If the average tenure of Southern Baptist pastors is actually somewhat over three years, there must have been some impulsiveness in the decision. And, on the other end, there's may be impusiveness also in the closing drama too, talented and called people who exit stage left at the first sign of trouble.
We are given the mind of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16). He paced his ministry and measured his words. What is more, he practiced the step down, step up, step back, step aside, and step away, (which I will address in the future) to guard against impulsive words or actions.
So, we're in the season that glorifies, even honors, impulsiveness. We can pick up last minute items and stocking stuffers right after Black Friday and get one day delivery on the day before Christmas. One click shopping, "Buy Now" buttons, adding to your shopping cart, and any number of quick links expedite a world on the move, or on the take. Most ministry decisions and mission opportunities require more thought than the instant take.
OK, the synapses are firing. My impulse neurons are activated. I'm praying for the heart that will help me seek truth and fact before I speak, encourage me to count the cost before I commit myself, and help me make informed, Godly decisions as I'm seeking to follow Him.
And, put cuffs on my urge to buy any of the appealing stuff at the check out counter.