I was finishing a two hour bike ride with my husband this last week . Tired but laughing, we raced toward the finish, taking the last curve with some speed, as we do every ride. Unbeknownst to me, he turned slightly right behind me to avoid a small puddle, caught my back wheel with his front wheel and over he went, winding up in the emergency room and then a short hospital stay with 2 broken ribs, punctured lung, sprained knee and bruised chest.
Without trying to force the metaphor too far, it occurred to me that there are a lot of small decisions that have big consequences, especially in church life. Sometimes it can be nothing more than a momentary lapse or accident. Other times the small decision can run counter to the vision of the church. And usually, small decisions add up together until one of them becomes the tipping point and alters the course of things. So what do we make of all this?
Small decisions are usually not small. They reveal who we are and what we are focusing on. And they add up, sometimes in ways that surprise us. In the life of the church, there are no unimportant times and all decisions move things one way or the other.
The questions need to be raised regularly about what the majority of our small decisions say about us as a church. Are we generally careful? Do we tilt to being faithful? Do we usually try to appease certain people with the decisions we make? Is everything debated ad nauseam? How do we respond if we realize we made a poor choice--shame, sense of failure, or do we learn from it? Most mistake are not fatal (fortunately) but they give us the chance to look at the larger picture when they happen. And even when we fall, God can use the experience to teach us new things.