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Thoughtful Thursday: Observation, Interpretation, Application

On Thursday nights, I have a "Small Group Community" with my church. About fifteen of us get together to discuss Sunday's sermon, laugh, and pray together. I am glad it's a part of my life.

Tonight, I asked a question about the text (1 Samuel 5), and challenged people to stick specifically to observing. Often we jump ahead to interpreting and applying before we've given a thorough look at the facts we're examining.

As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I thought about the week I just spent visiting Toronto and Montreal, exploring some potential options for change in my life. I spent most of my time observing, taking it all in and processing the data in front of me.

I've been trying to apply my thoughts and make a decision for awhile now. I want to know the next steps for my life, what kind of changes are coming down the chute and how I can prepare myself for them. Every new observation I have leads to six possible interpretations of its significance. This is tiring.

A friend asked me at an art show after small group if I have made up my mind. I laughed, and said it's only been 24 hours since I got home, and he laughed and said, "Yeah, twenty-four whole hours. That's enough time to decide!"

But the reality is that observation takes time, and if you jump into interpretation prematurely, then you're likely to make a wrong application.

So I'm just going to keep observing until I've nothing left to notice.


MLW said…
Thanks for sharing those three steps. I never thought of them as being essential in that order in the understanding process. As I think about it I realize I have been doing that to some extent and did not realize it. As always I enjoyed reading what you shared.

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