The Bulldog and the Skunk
Dr. Ray PritchardDr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
- 2004 Aug 17
Sometimes we fight over things that don't really matter and end up wasting lots of time and emotional energy with very little to show for it. One of the secrets to a successful life is learning over time which hills matter and which ones don't. Every great general knows that you have to pick your battles carefully. You can't fight over every hill or you'll end up winning the battle but losing the war.
I suppose there is no way to learn this lesson easily. When we are young, everything seems important, vital, crucial, and non-negotiable. As we get older, we learn that many things that once occupied our time don't seem to matter much in the long run. Perhaps it is a blessing that comes with the aging process. At a certain point in life, you simply don't have the time or strength or energy to get involved in every little squabble. So you decide what matters and what doesn't, and if you are like most people, you end up with a relatively short list of things that matter and a much longer list of things that
This week a friend passed along a saying that seems very much on point. "A bulldog can beat a skunk, but is it worth the fight?" If we're laying down bets, I'll put my money on the bulldog every time. But he'll end up smelling like a skunk even if he wins.
What is the point of all this? My mind is drawn to the words of David in Psalm 37:7, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." "Fret" is an old English word that speaks of an unsettled heart. The fretful believer is tossed and turned by circumstances he cannot control. God's solution is simple: 1) Be still before the Lord. That means what it says. Don't take matters into your own hands. 2) Wait patiently for him. Give God time to work. Chuck Swindoll says that waiting is the hardest discipline of the Christian life. I agree wholeheartedly. We live in a "can-do" society where the people who get ahead are those who "make it happen" no matter what it takes.
Here's a simple application. When you are churning on the inside about things you can't control, don't give in to the temptation to take matters in your own hands. Get alone with God and do nothing. That's right. Just do nothing. Wait on him.
Or you can be like a bulldog and jump into the fray. But even if you win the battle, you may end up smelling like a skunk.
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