“I am doing important work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same proposal, and I gave them the same reply.” Nehemiah 3b-4
Well, it was definitely smarter than me. We live in a world of smart devices. I remember years ago when phones were just getting smart, and I was all in up to my eyeballs. Through the years, I have been amazed as device after device got smarter and smarter. Everything from locks to thermostats to televisions got smarter and smarter and smarter. And then one day, they got smarter than me.
A while back I bought some smart plugs. These little wonders allow me to control a device either from my smartphone or with my girlfriend Alexa. I just tell her to turn on the lights and she does. In my living room, I have several lights all plugged into a couple of these smart plugs. All I have to do is say, “Alexa, turn on the living room lights” and just like that all the lights come on. Want to turn them off? No, problem. Just tell Alexa and she will turn them off. How great. How smart. How awesome.
Well, one day my smart world came crashing. All the smart plugs became very not smart. None of the lights would turn on and none would turn off. After an hour or so I figured out I needed to restart my internet modem and bam…just like that…we were back in business…almost. There was one plug that didn’t get the message. It said no, nada, ain’t gone happen. Well, I figured if I messed with it long enough, I could persuade it to get on board. I was wrong.
I messed with it and messed with it and then messed with it some more. It wasn’t a matter of minutes but hours. I finally gave up and went to bed, but I am not one to throw in the towel. First thing in the morning, after coffee and Jesus, I started in again and it wasn’t long before all that Good News Jesus stuff had leaked out and I was one frustrated dude. And just about that time it occurred to me to…just stop…and I did.
I picked up the tools and put them away and walked away. It occurred me that nothing including a smart plug gone dumb or one that was smarter than me should have that much control over me. And guess what. That particular light still does not have a plug…at least not one that is smart. I might give it another shot one day but that day was not yesterday, is not today and probably won’t be tomorrow. It just isn’t that important. Let’s be honest…I like to win but there are times when walking away is better than fighting a battle that doesn’t matter.
Someone once told me to be sure and choose my battles carefully. We need to learn to ask, “Is this a hill worth dying on?” So often our pride keeps us in the fight long after the fight doesn’t matter—after the fight has long left us. So, when you find yourself beating your head against a wall or bumping into that same stubborn wall, ask yourself, “Does this really matter?” Now if it does you stay in there but if it doesn’t don’t let your pride keep you where you don’t belong.
You know, Jesus knew about “hills worth dying on.” The one that held Him and His cross, Calvary, was so important nothing, and I do mean nothing, could keep Him from it. At the same time, He knew when to walk away…to let it go. We should do the same. Nehemiah, one of the guys in the Old Testament, was on mission to rebuild the wall that surrounded his hometown Jerusalem. His enemies kept trying to distract him so he finally said, “I am doing important work and cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” Isn’t that great? And four times they tried and four times he said no. He simply refused to leave what mattered for something that didn’t.
So, like the song Kenny Rogers made famous, “You need to know when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to walk away.” It will not only make your life easier, but it just might also make it more purposeful. Need a little help figuring out when to do what? No problem, just ask the One who is never wrong. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne