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Game Plan

My kids love to know “the game plan” for Saturdays or travel days or really most days. They surely get that from me. It is just nice to know where we’re headed, what to expect and how to prepare mentally and emotionally for what is to come. In general, I guess it is what our achiever culture has come to expect as indicated by typical questions asked: of the new home owner – “What are your plans for landscaping?/renovation?”, of the newly engaged – “When are you getting married?”, of the newly married – “So when do you think you will start having children?”, of the new parent – “how many more children do you plan to have?”, of the organizational leader – “What is your goal for the company/ministry/industry?” and on it goes. There is a sense that without a specific goal, time is being wasted and energy spent is fruitless. I like Tolkien’s quote: “Not all those who wander are lost.” But even the word “wander” implies aimlessness, doesn’t it? The need to know where I am headed helps me to properly evaluate where I am right now. Isn’t this why car trips are especially excruciating for the very young who have no idea what “46 more miles” or “an hour and half” actually mean? All the child knows is that he or she is strapped uncomfortably into a car seat, unable to move freely until someone else mercifully offers them freedom. He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8 Oh but I want to know the times and dates! I mean, if I could just have a sound track playing in the background, I could know when someone scary was lurking around the corner, or when I was free to frolic and skip around gaily. Just tell me what is coming so I know how to act right now and how to feel about what is happening right now.

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Cor. 2:1-5 “For I resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ…and the game plan.” Wait, no. “I need to know the person and work of Jesus…and my specific goals and life purposes.” Not what it seems to say. “My life is to proclaim the testimony about God…with a clearly developed mission statement and strategic plan.” Wait, not there either. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matt. 4:19 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Matt. 8:21-22

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. John 12:25-27 His very first disciples had daily plans, daily goals, daily responsibilities. They weren’t bohemian gypsies. Yet Jesus did not seem to satisfy what would have been reasonable, the question of “Where?” or “For how long?” By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. Hebrews 11:8-9 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:1-7

He has prepared the good works in advance for us to do. He will complete the good work that He has begun. He is at work in us to will and to act according to His good purpose. He has fashioned us for this very purpose. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. Oh how I hate that. I want to see! I want to know the game plan. I want confirmation that right now is good and right. But His sovereignty already assures me that it is. He invites me into a new kind of confidence, one that is by faith and not by sight. A confidence not based on human wisdom nor built by human hands and effort. My confidence is far more in clearly stated objectives, universal approval from others and tangible accomplishments. He is asking me to come, follow Him, and find my confidence, trust, peace, security and certainty in His person and work instead.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. Jer. 17:7

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