Tweets of the Day

15 reasons why the greatest suffering is better than the smallest sin

You have a choice.

Option 1: The tiniest sin imaginable, a sin that would bring you tremendous wealth and other material pleasures.

Option 2: The greatest suffering imaginable, for rejecting that one tiny sin.

Your selection, please. Or maybe you want to read this first.

In his sermon on Moses’ choice of Christ’s reproach instead of the pleasures of Egypt (Heb. 11:25), the Puritan Thomas Manton argues that the healthy Christian will choose the greatest affliction before the least sin. He then gives a number of reasons “why the greatest affliction is better than the least sin.”

1. In suffering the offence is done to us, but in sinning the offence is done to God; and what are we to God?

2. Sin separates us from God, but suffering and affliction doesn’t, and therefore the greatest affliction is to be chosen before the least sin.

3. Sin is evil in itself, whether we feel it or no; but affliction is only evil in our sense and feeling.

4. Affliction brings inconvenience upon the body only, and the concerns of the body; but sin brings inconvenience upon the soul.

5. An afflicted state is consistent with being loved by God; but a sinful state is a sign of God’s displeasure.

6. Affliction may be good, but sin is never good.

7. There is nothing that debases a man more than sin.

8. Afflictions come from God, but sin from the devil.

9. Affliction is sent to prevent sin; but sin must not be committed to prevent affliction.

10. The evil of suffering is for a moment, but the evil of sin is forever.

11. In sufferings and persecutions we lose the favor of men, but by sins we lose the favor of God.

12. To suffer is not in our choice, but to sin, that is in our choice. Afflictions are inflicted, sins are committed.

13. An afflicted man may die cheerfully, but a man in sin cannot.

14. Sin is contrary to the new nature; but affliction is only contrary to the old nature

15. When you deliberately choose sin, it will within a little while bring greater affliction.

Still want to stick with your choice?

Read Manton’s full explanation below (Vol. 14, 450-454), or access the 22 volumes of his Collected Works in different online formats here.  

Check out

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Book of Common Prayer
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Five reasons why catechisms are important
And while we’re in church history mode, here’s a revised Baptist catechism with commentary from John Piper.

A biblical theology of the Tribe of Judah
Nick Batzig’s great at these mini biblical theologies. At least they can be read in less than five years.

Racism by political party
“It is undeniable that some Americans are racist but racists split about evenly across the parties. No party has a monopoly on racists.”

The Facebook Fallacy
“For all its valuation, the social network is just another ad-supported site. Without an earth-changing idea, it will collapse and take down the Web.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Tweets of the Day

Children’s Bible Reading Plan

This week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first 12 months of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s the first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

And here’s an explanation of the plan.

For President, I want the guy who’s failed

A couple of recent articles on the Harvard Business Review Blog caught my attention. In For President, I want the guy who’s failed, Jeff Stibel proposes four unconventional questions to reveal how the Presidential candidates think and solve problems. The whole article is worth reading, but here are the four questions with a selection of quotes:

1. What’s your biggest failure?
“I won’t hire someone for my company who doesn’t acknowledge failure and I would insist on the same from our presidential candidates.”

2. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken and would you do it again?
“Whether in business or government, the hallmark of a successful leader is often courage. The question is, which risks are worth taking and how are these decisions made?”

3. When have you taken an unpopular decision against special interest groups?
“I want a candidate who can demonstrate that he has taken a position that serves the broader public in the face of adversity.”

4. What’s the most unconventional thing you’ve done?
“It’s undeniable that the success of most entrepreneurs is connected to the fact that they were innovative and often unconventional. I am convinced that this is an important qualification for solving any nation’s problems.”

Read Jeff’s full exposition of these questions here.

Then there’s Julian Birkinshaw’s piece on the Seven Deadly Sins of Management. His point is:

I continue to be a little puzzled about why so many managers do such a poor job. We have known what “good management” looks like for decades, and enormous sums have been spent on programs to help managers manage better. And yet the problem endures: In a recent survey I conducted, less than a quarter of respondents would encourage others to work for their manager.

He proposes that instead of focusing leadership training on platitudes and mottos, we should “focus on the bad behavior we are trying to get rid of.” Again, here’s a list with some summary quotes, but you should really read the whole piece:

  1. greedy boss pursues wealth, status, and growth to get himself noticed.
  2. Lust is also about vanity projects — investments or acquisitions that make no rational sense, but play to the manager’s desires.
  3. Wrath doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap, Fred “the shred” Goodwin, and “Neutron” Jack Welch were all famous for losing their cool.
  4. Gluttony in the business world is where a manager puts too much on his proverbial plate. He needs to get involved in all decisions, he needs to be continuously updated, he never rests.
  5. Healthy pride quickly tips over into hubris — an overestimation of your own abilities.
  6. Envy manifests itself most clearly when a manager takes credit for the achievements of others….or does not promote a rising star, for fear of showing up his own limitations.
  7. Sloth…They are inattentive, they don’t communicate effectively, and they have no interest in their team’s needs. Instead, they focus on their own comforts and quite often, on personal interests outside of the workplace.

Birkinshaw provides a test for evaluating our own leadership sins, and then supplies questions for those who are brave enough to conduct a 360-degree assessment.

Application to ministry
And why am I blogging about this? Well, since my first years of working life were spent in finance, I’ve always had an interest in management and leadership. But I also think that there’s valuable material here for pastors and churches, both in assessing potential candidates for Christian ministry, and in ongoing accountability of Christian leaders.