BY REV. DAVE SIMONSON - SPIRIT LAKE IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
Greetings to you in the renewing name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
One of the most thought provoking books I have read lately is Reggie McNeal’s “The Present Future.”
“New Reality Number Five: The Shift from Planning to Preparation” was the title of a chapter. This chapter has got me thinking a great deal. Do we plan for life or prepare to live life?
My personal opinion, I think we spend too much time planning life. Don’t get me wrong, we need plan many things in life. However not every situation needs its own planning session. I would much rather take things as they present themselves. By planning for every situation do we predict, thus control, what the future will bring?
McNeal begins by saying that we often ask the wrong question, “How Do We Plan for the Future?” He says that because he believes that, “Most of what has ultimate effect on the church happens outside of it and outside its control.”
I am reminded of the wisdom of the founders of the Boy Scouts. The Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” When I look back on my faith journey, I notice many of the times where God used me were not “planned.” What happened was that God “prepared” me to be in a certain situation. Being prepared, I was of service to God.
“How Do We Prepare for the Future?” is McNeal’s “tough question.” We prepare to be a part of God’s Mission in the world. Our spiritual formation is God shaping our “spiritual us” into who we are. God is the architect of what makes you, you. He guides and leads you to grow and be prepared to handle life.
I share this with you as we transition from our summer activities to our fall and winter schedule. Am I ready for what’s next? Preparation verses planning, for me — it makes great sense and gives me a sense of release. The reading, studying, worshiping can prepare us to carry out what God plans. He will lead us in this journey we call life.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 12, he writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)
May God bless these thoughts to prepare us to be his hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth … His Body on this earth.