The temptation in pastoral work is to react instead of reflect.
Suddenly there is a fire to put out, a problem to solve, a person who needs correction. The urgency of the situation fires like a starting pistol and we leap from the block rushing towards the finish line.
Sometimes the situation is not so urgent as it is familiar. We’ve been there before and assume that our response in the past will work in the present.
Francois Fenelon, in a letter to his nephew, had this wise word of advice for those of us who lead others.
“Do not be over-hasty, but learn from God, in peace and silence, what it is He wishes you to do and then, in all simplicity, do it. You will then see that things which appear to be of momentous importance will diminish in size and those of little or no importance will be recognizable as such and thus you will be, by God’s grace, enabled to achieve without hesitation a balanced to outlook.”
Some things demand immediate action but most are not as urgent as we might think. The cautious seldom make mistakes while the over-hasty often do. Learn to reflect before you react.