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Partial Obedience?

  • 4 June 2013
  • Randy Wollf

How to live in obedience to God (1 Samuel 15)King Saul had a knack for justifying his disobedience. Before attacking the Amalekites, Samuel clearly instructed Saul to destroy the people and their livestock (1 Sam. 15:3). No exceptions. After the battle, Samuel pays Saul a visit amid the bleating and lowing of the captured livestock. Saul justified his actions by saying that they only kept some of the best of the livestock, so that they could offer them as sacrifices to the Lord. Samuel doesn’t buy it.

The pressures of leadership and our desire to keep people happy may tempt us to try to justify our partial obedience. Yet, as we see from the story, partial obedience is disobedience.


God's Will and Jogging Strollers

  • 3 June 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Man jogging with strollerWhen child number four arrived last year, my wife and I decided to do something we had never done before – we bought a jogging stroller. We found a nice used one through friends at our church. For the most part, it does exactly what we hoped. We can take it over rough terrain. I can take my little guy with me when I go for a jog or when I slap on the roller-blades. The only frustrating thing about the stroller is that the front wheel does not pivot. That means that you’re constantly pushing the back wheels to the side or lifting the front wheel up to steer it.

The other day I took junior out for a walk in the rain. With my umbrella in hand, I was left with only one hand to try to steer the jogging stroller. I managed, but something interesting happened when we left the paved path and started to cross a bumpy stretch. I found that the bumps provided a natural lift to the front wheel that made it easier to turn the entire stroller.

Being a seminary professor and former pastor, I couldn’t help but think that there might be a deep theological truth in this phenomenon. I recalled a statement about God’s will that has sometimes guided my thinking and teaching over the years: God can’t steer a ship that’s not moving. The point is that it’s usually good to move in some direction and then allow God to make midcourse corrections as He sees fit. If a ship is not moving, then no amount of steering will make a difference. What struck me as I marveled over the ease of steering the stroller over bumpy terrain was that sometimes we are more open to God’s midcourse corrections when we are going through a bumpy season of life. Perhaps, we’re desperate for God to show up. We know we’re in trouble and realize that we can’t navigate without His help.

As we encounter bumps in life, may they remind us to surrender control to God and to let Him steer us through the challenges.


"I am with you"

  • 1 June 2013
  • Randy Wollf

Boy hugging dogLoyalty is important to me. I tend to be very loyal to the people and organizations I trust. I also greatly value loyalty in those with whom I serve.

As Jonathan led a high-risk raid on a Philistine outpost (see the “One Act of Courage” post), he was accompanied by a loyal armor-bearer. When Jonathan described his audacious plan, the armor-bearer responded, “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul” (1 Sam. 14:7). As we seek to build strong families, teams and organizations, may we have the same kind of commitment to one another: “I am with you heart and soul.”