We are now four months into this new chapter of our lives combining travel with ministry and preaching opportunities. We have been to 16 states and 8 countries.
I have been blessed to preach 43 times and teach 18 classes. Currently, we are enjoying the Blue Ridge Mountains as we travel to Kettering, Ohio, for a gospel meeting. Following that, we’re headed to the Smoky Mountains and I will preach in Cosby, Tennessee, on October 21.
In November we will return to Florida and spend the month in Pinellas County and are scheduled to speak for the Henderson Boulevard church on the 4th and then speak one Sunday at the Skyview Church.
In December we will be in Homosassa, Florida, and I will be preaching twice for the West Citrus church on the 2nd and 16th.
We will begin the new year in Ft. Lauderdale and preach and teach a class every Sunday in January at the Northside church.
In February we return to Temple Terrace, Florida, to attend the Florida College Lectures.
Next summer we plan to return to Ontario, Canada for about 2 months.
This morning, however, I received a sobering admonition about my future plans while reading the book of James. By inspiration, he issues this word of caution.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (Jas 4:13-17).
This passage is a reminder that I’m not in control of my calendar as much as I think I am. I need to approach my plans with the caveat, “if the Lord wills.”
As humans, we like to think we can chart our own course, Discover our own destiny. Follow our passion. And pursue our dreams. Yet, reality reminds us that life is uncertain. The ancient Hebrew sage wrote, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov 27:1).
Ultimately God is in control. As Barclay expressed it, “Man may propose, but God disposes.” The Roman philosopher Seneca said, “How foolish it is for a man to make plans for his life when not even tomorrow is in his control.”
It is said that as Sir James Barrie grew older, he would never make an arrangement for even a social engagement at any distant date. “Short notice now!” he would respond. But both brevity and uncertainty of life are not necessarily tied to our age. All of us should heed the counsel of the wise man, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Prov 16:21).
Uncertainty ought not to make us afraid, but to approach each day with faith. Trusting in God. And following the counsel of His Word. Our faith provides surety in the face of uncertainty. It sheds light through the darkness. And offers hope regardless of what a day may bring.
It is worth noting that James is not advising us to abandon prudent planning. Preparing for a career. Saving for a worthy goal. Investing for our retirement. Setting spiritual goals. And scheduling future preaching appointments. None of these are wrong. But it is wrong to forget God. To leave Him out of our plans. And to arrogantly forge ahead thinking we’re in control.
In all of our planning, let’s approach it with this contingency–“Lord willing.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman