I love to always have a ‘Plan B’.
What if it rains? Then we’ll go into the hall.
What if the car breaks down? Then we’ll call AVIS.
What if the door is locked? Then we’ll go around the back.
What if the machine breaks down? Then we’ll use the spare in the cupboard.
What if the country ‘breaks down’? Then we’ll immigrate to …
What if my company fails? Then we’ll execute Plan B.
I have come to realize the importance of listening. Many people hear, very few listen. Jesus says in Luke 8:18 “So take care how you listen…”
It made me think about how I listen. I mostly listen with a ‘worldly ear’, taking part in all the negative discussions about a host of subjects including the political situation of the day; the economy; crime; ISIS and how the Muslims are going to take over the world and how unjust the world has become. All these negative discussions surround us without anybody giving any constructive input. I realized that joining the world in its negativity and criticism is not a good place to be as this is the breeding ground for worry and fear. Fear about the future, fear for one’s safety… all in direct contrast with what Jesus said in Matt. 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
There are times that I wish I can do more to get people, including myself, to trust God more. Psalms 48:14(b) says that God will be our guide until we die. I therefore have a guide…why don’t I ask Him for help? Direction? Guidance? Why do I continue to struggle with decisions and situations and not pray more? Seek more? Trust more? Live more? Worry less? When all I have to do is seek, and I will find. (Matt 7:7)
How I need both guidance and a guide – a map that gives me landmarks and directions and a constant companion who has an intimate knowledge of the way and who will be sure I interpret the map correctly. The more I spend quality time with the Lord and read His word, the more I realise that the Bible is such a map and God the constant companion and guide. Why do I then not lean more upon the Map and the Guide? Let me share with you and example of what happened this past week.
I often catch myself judging others; it comes so easily, so naturally to criticize. Luke 6:37 reminds me that I must never criticize or condemn, or it will all come back on me and that I am to go easy on others so that they will do the same to me.
I was again struck by Rahab’s story in Joshua 2. Here was a prostitute and Innkeeper living on the edge of society, very close to being rejected by the community she lived in. When she heard that Jericho was to be invaded she feared concerning her and her family’s future. She must have felt very vulnerable living in the city wall – the first line of defense. When the two Israeli spies arrived at her Inn, she made the right decision by hiding them from the police, not even thinking of the danger she was putting herself in. In fact, she sensed that the Israelites relied on a God worth trusting. Here was a woman that rose above her situation through her trust in God, and above all, she did not let her fear affect her faith in God’s ability to deliver and to save her and her family.
“Never make little plans” were the words Anita said to me on November 25, 2009 when I shared with her what I believed God instructed me to do and that is to develop a second campus for the Eduplex. She quoted Daniel Burnham, the architect that designed Chicago after the big fire and whose words she read a mere 3 weeks before in the Chicago library.
He said “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty.”