I get a kick out of the cartoon that shows two bugs next to a piece of food, underneath a table. One bug is holding the other bug back saying, “don’t you know about the 5 Second Rule?”
Well, there is another time kind of rule that I think is worth our following. Again it has to do with promptly responding when something happens. True it is found in the Old Testament in the Bible, but before you disregard it because its in the Bible, or is not in the New Testament, just read it and seek to understand the wisdom in it.
In the Book of Numbers 30: 3-8 (NIV) it says, 3 “When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge 4 and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. 5 But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lordwill release her because her father has forbidden her.
6 “If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself 7 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. 8 But if her husband forbids her when he hears about it, he nullifies the vow that obligates her or the rash promise by which she obligates herself, and the Lordwill release her.
The idea is when a man hears that either his daughter or wife has made a foolish vow or obligation, he should immediately try to put a stop to it, or have it nullified. I believe the wisdom of this principle can extend far beyond just a man and his daughter or wife.
I think of a family member who I’ve just become aware is doing something kind of dangerous. I have three choices. I can either not say anything. I can put off saying something to some later day (whenever that is). Or I can look to follow the principle mentioned above and say something promptly to him.
With the first two options, there is always the chance that the delay could prove very harmful. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, let alone the next minute. So, if we love someone and there is an opportunity to talk about something that we believe is very important, why wouldn’t we? Is it worth the possibility that your intuition was correct and something awful happens to that person? If it does, there is also another terrible consequence and that is, the issue of a painful regret. Saying to yourself “I wish I would have said something to that person” doesn’t do any good in avoiding the negative consequences that came about.
One other thing to consider is that the prompting to speak up and take action doesn’t have to be to confront someone or warn someone of some danger. It can also be something positive.
In the Book of Proverbs 3:27-28 (NASB) it says,
“Do not withhold good from [j]those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,”
When you have it with you.
If you recognize an opportunity to be a blessing to someone today, do it! If you feel prompted to do something for someone, do it! If you feel prompted to offer someone your appreciation or gratefulness, don’t put it off–do it!