Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Since I became a Christian I stopped believing in blind luck. It seems to me that God is in charge and that all things happen according to His plan but is that what the Bible says? In Ecclesiastes Solomon, the wisest man to ever live wrote the following: Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 New International Version (NIV) 11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. 12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. Observing the way the world works and considering what He knew of God, Solomon who got his wisdom from God concluded that no matter how hard you work or how skillful or wise you are or are not things can still go right or wrong. It seems to us that there is no reason we should not hit on the next big thing and become rich or perhaps we are looking for a simpler victory like a month without a care repair or recognition for our hard work on the job. Sometimes we get it and we judge it makes perfect sense and other times we don’t get what we expect and our mind struggles to grapple with why things have not gone the way we orchestrated. James wrote something on this topic as well. James 4:13-17 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. According to James, all our great efforts are as mist. That doesn’t amount to much, does it? The accumulated learning of a degree in whatever and a life time’s experience and it amounts to mist. People make plans and leave God and their God given responsibility out of it and then they bemoan their situation while they struggle to understand why it worked out the way it did. So, James warns us, instead of devising clever schemes or well concocted business plans we should say, even as part of a good plan, whatever God wills. He ends by saying, whatever good a person knows they should do and does not do it, for them it is sin. Paul says something about the topic in his famous speech on Mars Hill: 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. A few quick takeaways: 1- Best laid plans go awry. Don’t not plan but don’t set your hopes on a good plan, rather trust in the God that has a plan that transcends all of ours. 2- Build yourself, get better educated, manage your health, clean up your mouth and your language because the only one that can get you better odds than a roll of the dice on the outcome of your next endeavor is God and if you want Him on your side you’d better live like your on His side. 3- If you know something you should do and you are blowing it off. If you are planning your life without giving special emphasis to those things that will make the world a better place (and you know what they are- feed the poor, care for those in need, be kind, and serve with no hope of being repaid by the person or persons you serve…) If you have a plan that leaves out any good thing that God would have you do, He calls that sin. Repent today and do the things you know you should. 4- Have hope: God can make something out of anyone at any time. He loves a reversal of fortune. He loves to bless those who don’t deserve it and realize it. Make asking God for help part of who you are. Make living for God more important than coming out on top and you can know that eternity settled and time and chance can’t touch that AND THAT”S HOPE The bottom line is: A lot of people are trying to bank on their good fortune tomorrow, they think it will eventually all come together because they work hard or learn much and while working hard and learning much are the right things to do, tomorrow’s profit is the wrong reason to do it and frankly just might not be coming because time and chance happen to all men. So, bank on God today doing the things you know He wants you to do. Start by accepting Jesus as Lord and then use all that you are and all that you can become for His glory. Do those small, good things today that you’ve been letting go because your plans or your business seemed more important. Let God take care of the outcome. If as His people we will choose to live like this, His kingdom will advance on earth, His will will be done, and that’s something so much more than mist.