Blessed… On Regret

When Judas, who betrayed Jesus, saw that Jesus was condemned to die, he felt deep regret. He returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, and said, “I did wrong because I betrayed an innocent man.”

But they said, “What is that to us? That’s your problem.” Judas threw the silver pieces into the temple and left. Then he went and hanged himself.

The chief priests picked up the silver pieces and said, “According to the Law it’s not right to put this money in the treasury. Since it was used to pay for someone’s life, it’s unclean.” So they decided to use it to buy the potter’s field where strangers could be buried. That’s why that field is called “Field of Blood” to this very day. This fulfilled the words of Jeremiah the prophet: And I took the thirty pieces of silver, the price for the one whose price had been set by some of the Israelites, 10 and I gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me (Matthew 27:3-10, Common English Bible). 

Mark Twain is credited with saying, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” I have some serious disagreement with Mr. Twain.

I have some serious disagreement with Mr. Twain. Are there things I wish I had done in life that I didn’t do? Sure there are. Are there things I didn’t do and did something else in its place and now think, with hindsight, “I should have made a different decision?” Absolutely. Are there times when I settled for indecision or no action rather than doing something that could help move things forward? Without question.

All that being said, there are other things in my life, things I have done or things I have said where I have made some pretty serious errors, some bad lapses in judgment that I have come to regret far more than the things I didn’t do and now, again with the benefit of hindsight wish I had done differently.

As I talk with people who tend to live by the Mark Twain quote, most of the time, as they tell me about it, it is either a poor moral choice they wish they had made instead of doing the right thing or they truly believed they were making the right decision and now really wish they had gone the other direction. And, the very first verse of our lesson has Judas regretting this thing he did do, far more than he regretted anything he did do.

I found that wallet full of money. No one would have known had I just kept it for myself. Instead, after finding the man’s ID in his wallet I was able to track down a telephone number and told him I had found his wallet and then returned the wallet to him. No one would have known. I should have kept in there was money in there.

That is just one example. There could be more. We act like those things don’t matter, but they do.

Our lesson is the conclusion of an earlier story (Matthew 26:14-16) where Judas makes the decision to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Things weren’t working out the way Judas wanted. He thought Jesus should throw out the Romans, set himself up as a new ruler and then set the disciples up to get rich on all of it. When that wasn’t happening, 30 pieces of silver, in return for turning Jesus in, seemed like a pretty good deal.

The deal was no more than done when regret enters the picture and it does so in the form that is totally opposite of the Mark Twain quote above. It seems to me that such is the case for us, more often than not.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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