Summary: What is the Godly approach to take in our attitude towards what the future holds for us?
DON’T STOP THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW
When I started preparing my preaching calendar for May, I realized that on May 20, I had a problem…This was the day we wanted to honor our high school seniors, recognizing them for their accomplishments and encouraging them for the future…At the same time, it was the day we had set aside to have our congregational meeting to deal with issues relating to our move towards autonomy, and I wanted to use this time during our service to acknowledge this significant milestone in our church’s history.
At first, I was a little bummed…I thought about preaching two sermons—or one sermon, twice as long—but then I came to my senses…But as I pondered this dilemma and prayed about it, it suddenly struck me how similar the situations are for our church and our graduating seniors.
Both are entering a new phase of their lives…Both are becoming more independent of their “parents”—in our case, our sponsoring church, Olathe Bible Church…This phase of our lives represents a time of growth and a recognition of maturity…And both our seniors and our church are facing the future with a strong sense of enthusiasm and excitement.
Some of you are no doubt familiar with a Fleetwood Mac tune called, Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow… The song says:
Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterdays gone, yesterdays gone.
As with most things in modern culture, there is some truth in that song, and some things that aren’t quite so true.
It is true that tomorrow will soon be here…It has been said that the difference between youth and the aged is:
• the youth says, I can’t wait for tomorrow.
• the aged says, Is it tomorrow already?
It is also true that yesterday’s gone…While we may have memories of yesterday, it is a day that will never be repeated.
But then we come to the words, It’ll be better than before…
If you’ve lived for more than—oh say, two minutes—then you know that’s a promise that Fleetwood Mac might not be able to keep…Tomorrow may hold more adversity, more heartache and more sorrow than today…But of course, you wouldn’t sell many records trying to write a song around those thoughts.
And besides, we want to believe that tomorrow will be better, don’t we?...We want to believe that tomorrow will bring us more hope and joy and peace than today… And there’s nothing at all wrong with that…But such optimism needs to be tempered with a Godly perspective on the issue, and this is what we find in the wise counsel of James.
Join with me in reading from JAMES 4:13-17
Let me make clear that James is not suggesting that it is wrong to make plans or to prepare for the future…Our Seniors were not wrong to stand up here today to share with us their plans for future schooling and careers.
It is not inappropriate for us as a church to make plans to add staff or buy land or build a building.
But James’ advice echoes that of the Proverb which states: Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
Again, we don’t find a condemnation of making plans, but it is important that we seek to align our plan with God’s purpose.
Basically, James tells us here that when it comes to making plans, we have three choices.
I. DISREGARD THE WILL OF GOD
This certainly is the approach that most people in the world adopt, but I’m sad to say that it is pretty common even among people of faith…After all, James is addressing his comments to believers, and it is these believers that are making plans for the future with little concern for what God wants.
I think part of the problem is that we divide our lives into compartments, and we decide there are certain compartments that either don’t interest God, or that we don’t need His help with…We’ll pray over that which we deem to be spiritual, but there are huge chunks of our lives where we simply give no thought or concern as to what God may want.
I hope that our seniors have been earnestly praying over the next step in their lives—whether to further their education, and if so where…What field to go into, not just because it might be lucrative financially, but because it is really where God can use you for His purpose.
I hope you pray over who to hang out with as your lives transition and new friends come along…Pray over such things as where to live, and who to date and ultimately who to marry.
As a church, I trust that we’re praying over things like staffing and land…I hope we’ll pray that God will bring our way those people who need to hear the Gospel, as well as those who can bring giftedness and resources that will help us to minister more effectively.