Weekly Thought – January 6, 2015
Fred valued friendship. As he aged many of them preceded him in death. Upon hearing of a passing, he often recounted decades of stories, smiling and laughing. “Cultivate younger friends because your contemporaries will be gone if you live long enough.” One of Fred’s long-time younger ones was Steve Brown of Key Life Network. They met while speaking in Kentucky and made a decision immediately clicked. When Being Good Isn’t Good Enough is Steve’s newest book. According to the author it is “how to stop striving to please a God who is already pleased.” www.KeyLife.org
Step by Step?
(Editor’s note: Fred was asked about his thinking on the specific will of God. He wrote much in a personal letter to a dear friend. This excerpt reflects his position and his straightforward approach).
Some young people questioned our son as to how they could know God’s plan. Rather than answer, he asked them why they wanted to know. Their answers were revealing. One wanted to follow the plan because he didn’t want to have God mad at him. Another assumed the plan must be wonderful, and he didn’t want to miss what God had for him. Another felt God needed his work, and therefore, if he didn’t do it, it wouldn’t be done leaving God’s plan incomplete.
It was easy to see these young people were really talking about works and not grace. They had a clear self-interest in God’s plan. When they spoke of wanting a plan, it meant happiness, prosperity lack of trouble, love, and acceptance.
Egotism seems to creep into their perceptions. They assume God has something big in mind. They cannot imagine ordinary lives of ordinary people.
The one who believed God couldn’t get it done with him reminded me of an unforgettable experience on a Christian campus. I was lecturing and made the point: “God doesn’t need us.” I heard a scream and considerable sobbing. When I located the female student, I asked what was wrong. I had no idea what I said made her cry. She repeated what I said and told me that if she believed my statement, it would tear her entire life apart because from childhood she had been told God needed her. I tried to explain God’s being omnipotent had no need of us. He made the world out of nothing, man out of dust, bread out of stones, and pebbles into people. He was totally adequate and sufficient. HOWEVER, the marvel was that he wanted and loved us.
I realize it is possible to desire a plan for no other reason than to promote our irresponsibility. We say, “God, you do the planning – you take the ultimate responsibility – you make the decisions.” We may say “please,” or “thank you,” or not. Irresponsibility isn’t determined by its courtesy. Some of the most irresponsible folks imaginable are socially adept being, through and through. God’s goal for us is spiritual maturity, not spiritual civility. Emily Post may smile while the angels weep.
This week think about: 1) What do I think about God’s having a specific plan for me? 2) Do I ever fall into the irresponsibility trap? 3) How am I cultivating my friendships?
Words of Wisdom: “Emily Post may smile while the angels weep.”
Wisdom from the Word: “But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NET Bible)