I have been exposed by my own words today. In fact, just one word: uncertainty.
As I reflect on an important morning meeting, that word—spoken by my own voice—keeps echoing in my mind: uncertainty. I must have used that word four dozen times during that meeting. “How can we make plans in the midst of so much uncertainty?” “How should we lead in the day of uncertainty?” “The uncertainty of the coming weeks is a challenge for our pastors.”
Then I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “When have you ever lived with certainty about a day, about tomorrow, about the week to come? Do you ever really know what a day might hold?”
When we live our lives, plan our schedules or predict profits as if we know what tomorrow holds, we show our pride. Pride, false pride, vain pride comes to the surface in two forms: planning and procrastination.
We make plans and state plans as if our wills determine reality and our imaginations contain all the possibilities under the sun. In truth, we do not know. In reality, we cannot imagine. Our plans, like our lives, are a vapor. Planning is not bad in and of itself; planning, in fact, is necessary. But prideful planning forgets that the only thing certain is the will of the Lord. “Instead you ought to say, if the Lord wills…”
Procrastination presumes on tomorrow. We put off the right that we could do today because we are taking tomorrow for granted. We spend this hour on lesser things, trivial matters, because we assume that opportunity for Kingdom ministry, or that person, that immortal soul, will still be there tomorrow.
Humility, on the other hand, takes the opportunity to do good in the hour it presents itself. What if we stopped fretting about what we do not know and stepped through the open door for ministry that sets before us right now?
This season of uncertainty is actually a strong dose of reality.
For this, I give thanks.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:13-17).