Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Flipping Coins...

(photo from www.research-live.com)
Casting lots...drawing straws...flipping a coin... we've all done it. Just the other day, I walked into the living room and asked my oldest, "Heads or tails?" She said, "Heads." I flipped the quarter, and heads it was. She had no clue what I was trying to decide, but I needed a little help with the deciding.

I don't know why we do that, do you? Maybe, personally, I'm just that indecisive. I don't think I am, though. Never really have been. Usually I can make up my mind and stick to it with the stubbornness of a thousand mules, just ask my wife.

Maybe it's an easy way to make a tough decision. If the coin makes the decision, then maybe we are released from any liability? That way, if things go bad, which they often do, we can say, "Well, we flipped a coin. It's not my fault." It's good to have an out, you know, just in case.

We are all, at some point, in a season of discernment. We all have to make decisions, eventually, that will affect us and those around us for years to come. Hopefully, those decisions have been bathed in prayer, and God's will, not ours, has been sought. Hopefully, we have prayed for guidance, and not just left those decisions to chance.

In the Book of Acts, right in the very beginning, Jesus has ascended and temporarily left the scene. Oh, the man in white said he'd be back, but didn't say when. Judas, (You remember the traitor, right?) had been disposed of in a rather graphic way according to Luke, which left only 11 of the 12 remaining. Someone had to take his place.

Peter, as Peter always seemed to do, took the lead and began the discussion. He told the group of followers that someone needed to be chosen to take Judas' role in the leadership of the movement. Then they nominated two out of the group; Barsabbas and Matthias. Seems pretty simple at this point. Just flip a coin: Heads it's Barsabbas, tails it's Matthias, and that's basically what they did. Notice what happened first, though.

They began to pray. They prayed that God show them which one to choose, and then they cast lots. Now, I'm not sure what that really looked like: maybe it was dice, or straws, or sticks, maybe they did flip a coin, who knows? What impresses me, though, is that what appears to be a decision of chance was actually very prayerfully considered, and the results of the casting of the lots left up to God.

I have never prayed over a coin toss. I guess if I were more of a sports fan I might have, but I can't remember ever praying over a coin toss. I have made lots of decisions by waiting to see which side it landed on, and some of them probably fairly important decisions, but I'm wondering now if it's really a bad thing. I think I need to look at this one a little more.

If God's will has been sought, and if we have been prayerful beforehand, is it ok to make a decision that might affect us for the rest of our life by simply flipping a coin? I'd like to hear what you think on this one.


1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm,You have given me something to think about with this one, Jamie. Like you say, most of us have all made decisions based on the coin toss. I don't think I have ever done it for something really important.. Usually in that case I do Pray on it and just hope you make the right decision.