Friday, July 22, 2011

What Will Happen Tomorrow?

Life unfolds in unusual patterns. We like to think that we have everything figured out and we know exactly where we are as the story of our life unfolds. The truth is we really have no idea. Possibilities are limitless and options are often overwhelming. Today as I left my career of the last nineteen years everyone wanted the answer to a single question. “What’s going to happen tomorrow?”

My co-workers seemed to have great difficulty accepting the fact that I am quite literally stepping into the unknown, so tonight I am reflecting on the events of the day and inviting anyone who will listen with an open mind and discerning heart to accept the only answer I’ve found to their question. I will not keep you in suspense waiting for the answer we all know is inevitable. But I will respectfully ask that you read through to the end and reflect on your own life experience along the way.

Jim Elliot is credited with making one of the most profound statements I have ever read, “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” His life and death on the mission field inspired the recent movie, End Of The Spear. I’m sure I will not say anything that weighty or profound, but I hope his statement can point us in the direction of understanding the answer.

First we need to at least list the things we have but cannot keep. Every life is unique and your list may look different. Your priorities shape your list, but these are a few of the universal examples: life, youth, health, wealth, security. None of these things will last indefinitely. No matter what we do to insure their continuation they will come to an end. So by definition we cannot keep them.

Now list the things we cannot lose. The list is short and in my experience is the same for everyone. The way I see it there are five key things on the list: joy, faith, hope, love and salvation. The reason we cannot lose them is simple. They do not exist in us apart from our personal relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ. Each one is a benefit of the presence of God actively working in our lives.

I do not know what will happen tomorrow, but I know where my faith is today.  According to Proverbs 16:3 our submission to God, giving Him full attention in our work,  blesses our plans.

 “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 gives a bleak existential summation to the meaning of life and reminds me of a popular song from the late 1980s or early 1990s, “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. The grim reality is we are all going to die. The spiritual truth is God has equipped us to work for His kingdom and we should be happy to live out our lives with the companions God has given to help us.

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 (NIV)

The existential portion of this passage tells us life is meaningless, but a deeper more complete examination of scripture reveals only a life lived without God is meaningless. In fact, God offers eternal life to anyone willing to believe in His Son. John 3:16 is probably the most well known verse in the Bible. It expresses both LOVE and EVERLASTING LIFE being available through FAITH.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

I believe it is that love that compels me to take action through faith and devote myself to the work of the ministry. That work is to share the good news and devote myself to public reading of scripture. The power of the Word of God demonstrated through His presence and preached by His authority will transform our world.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3 (NASB)

“And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” Romans 10:15 (NLT)

“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” 1Timothy 4:12-14 (NASB)

I do not know what will happen tomorrow. I only know today I must answer the call God has placed upon my life. He has given each of us many great and precious promises in the Bible. So, today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life I will attempt to live life as an example of God’s Grace.

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 (KJV)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:33-34 (NLT)

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