Sometimes you just have to decide.


Years ago, I belonged to a start-up gospel music group. We had several musicians in it (bass, acoustic, keyboards, percussion, three vocalists, and a sound tech). It was quite a bit of fun to sing some old standards—even more to write some music—even if the attempts did nothing else but show us that we could actually do it.

We started to get some gigs, at churches, socials, and an outreach center—even got invited to do a wedding reception. And then this happened:

One of band members wasn’t sure whether to continue—it took a lot of time (something we all faced after about a year). Yet the uncertainty became clear right in the middle of setting up for a 25 minute set.

We were putting our gear onto the platform—and the piano player just stopped. Stopped cold.

The timing was completely inconvenient—we were setting up to play. And the piano player just froze—wouldn’t even carry a patch cable for the sound guy. We all wound up having a conversation right there about whether we would be able to do the gig without the keyboards.

Finally, the bass player had enough—we needed to keep our word and play that night (even if it was the last time we ever played together). He picked up a music stand and handed it to the keyboard player, and said this:

“Be a man—take a stand!”

Those words hung in the air for about five seconds. Then we all burst out laughing at the ridiculous situation, joined together with his clever wordplay—and then that bass player had a stroke of poetic genius explode in his brain. He picked up a second music stand and held it out to the piano player:

“Be a hypocrite—take two stands!”

All of us looked at the bass guy. He was making a dramatic gesture as he spoke the second phrase with a flourish, and then mock-curtseyed before the pianist and made the Vulcan hand sign to “Live long and prosper.” The posturing was so ridiculous, that all of us belched out a belly laugh, and the negative power of the moment was completely defused. I picked up the two stands (pretending to be double-minded), the piano player grabbed the electric keyboard, and the keyboard mount, the sound guy grabbed the cables, and we all got to work. That night we played the gig.

The keyboardist eventually decided that the time commitment was too heavy—though played with us again from time to time. Most of us realized that we didn’t want to make this a career, so the group folded later on.  

I often remember that crazy moment, not only because it was clever, but because it underlines a profound truth.

Sometimes we just have to decide.

James says it extremely well, when it comes even to something as basic as asking God for wisdom (and who would doubt that God wants to grant that?) Here is what he said:

If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who give generously to all, without reproach. But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 NASB

The Message translation underlines the effect “not deciding” extremely well:

Don’t think you are going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open… James 1:8 MSG

Take a stand. Decide. Embrace the gospel, and put both feet in.

© David Chotka, 2020