- John Anderson
The Right Hand or the Left Hand
There I was in Knoxville, TN on a cold and snowy Saturday all alone at the job site. My boss had asked me to meet him at 6:30 a.m. and help him sheet a roof with the promise of double pay since I was working on a Saturday with him. I looked at my clock on my Chevy S10 and it read 7:00 a.m. and still no boss, no tool truck, and no one there except me. I called and was told that due to the inclement weather, we were not working and he had forgotten to let me know. I was not bitter, I had only woken up at 5:30 a.m. and drove 15 miles to get there...on a Saturday!
As I began making my way back, the roads had begun to freeze over and I knew I was in trouble. Where I was living, there was a huge hill that went straight down and there was no way possible to get the truck down the hill in the icy conditions. As a man however, I would not be deterred. I began slowly going down the hill in the center of the road and everything was fine until halfway down the hill another car was attempting to go up...in the center of the road! There were two ditches on both sides of the road and I knew that I was going to have to choose one and he was going to have to choose one, I was only praying that we would not choose the same one!
Fortunately, as a conservative, I went right, he must have been a raging liberal because he went left, but at the end of the day we both were in a ditch and not driving on the road where we were intended to drive.
The Bible states in Proverbs 4:7, "Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." Statements like this about the right hand and the left hand are found throughout Scripture, especially in the leadership book of Joshua. God commands His people not to swerve too far to the right hand nor to the left hand, but He clearly commands us to remove our foot from evil.
I am convinced that there is some steering room between the right hand and left hand when it comes to ministry practices, standards, and even music preferences. It is possible to be more liberal than God, but it is also possible to be more conservative than God. Much arguing, fighting, name calling, and downright evil behavior has taken place amongst God's people over the right hand and left hand, but truthfully many of us have veered off the road and found ourselves in a ditch while the world is dying without a Saviour. Here are a few thoughts about the Right and Left Hand:
1. Don't follow someone else into a ditch.
2. Don't fool yourself into believing that the ministry is about choosing a ditch.
3. Don't forget that you have been caught in the ditch before yourself!
4. Don't foolishly stay in the ditch because you have gotten used to your ditch.
5. Don't forsake friends who refuse to go into the ditch with you.
6. Don't fight the other guy in the the other ditch when you are stuck yourself!
7. Don't force an overcorrection to the other ditch when you finally get back on track!
Believe it or not, a tow truck was coming up the hill 15 minutes after our incident. As he got closer, I looked at the side of his truck and it said "Grace Towing." An elderly gentlemen hooked his tow truck to mine and pulled me and the other driver out of the ditch and helped us get on our way. I am convinced that if you are stuck in a ministry ditch, either right or left, we all need the Grace of God to get out of our man-made ditches, offer that same grace to one another, and get back on the road of reaching this world for Christ. Don't turn to the right or the left, just stay in love with Christ, His Word, and follow the Lord with your whole heart!