Thursday, September 29, 2005

Planning Your Future In Clay

Planning your future in concrete?

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." -Isaiah 64:8

Today we ask, how we will plan our future and who will shape it? The temptation in all of us is that it be ourselves who shape the future, but it is not enough to be masters of our destinies. Our insecurities lead us to desire a secure future. If we are to have a secure future, then our future must contain unmovable goals that lead us to "concrete" destinations. It is in unmovable goals and "concrete" destinations that we hope our future can withstand the struggles and crises of life. Why do we resist God from shaping our future? Why do we feel this need to plan our future in concrete?

This temptation to be master planners of our futures in most common in recent college graduates (like me). We sit in our seats at graduation planning it all out. If not already, I'm going to get married. We are going to move back to our hometown where it is safe and familiar. We are going to have 2 kids, a girl and a boy for balance. We will have two dogs. We will buy two fuel-efficient Honda Accords which we will pay off in two years. We will take out a 30yr mortgage at low interest. I will work so my wife can be with the kids. We will attend their high school graduation. Then in their freshman year we will help them move into the dorm. They will meet their spouse and we will pay for a modest wedding. By then we have retired and nothing to do but spoil the grandchildren. Finally, if it all goes to plan we will die together peacefully in our sleep.

Can you feel the concrete start to dry?

The future I just described is not a bad future nor would it be unChristian to live such a future. It's a great plan filled with tons of joy that many get to experience. But reality tells us that life rarely goes according to plan. How many parents don't get to see their children graduate high school or college? How many parents don't get to see their children get married? How many parents divorce? How many widows have to attend their spouse's funeral?

Not only does life not go according to plan, but what if God desires a different plan for us? Planning my future in concrete is a constant struggle for me. It's no secret that I plan on moving to NYC after grad school to work with Shiloh year around. It's a good plan and one I am excited about, but I am trying to be careful not to plan in concrete. I believe God wants me to work with Shiloh, but at the same time I want to be flexible and moldable to God's call. What if God calls me elsewhere? Do I refuse since it doesn't fit my plan? But God keeps calling me to Shiloh. I am trying to let God shape the "How" and "When" of my work with Shiloh.

My plea to you and myself, stop planning your future in concrete. Stop resisting God's call to shape your future. Yes, living among friends and relatives is familiar and safe. Yes, staying in the church building is safe. Many times God's call doesn't make sense, but there is always purpose in God's call. I believe God is calling us to the unknown. God is calling us to get out of the boat and unto the water. God wants us to put our future and security in him rather than ourselves.

The problem with concrete is that you can't shape it once it dries. Instead of planning our future in concrete, let us plan our future in clay. Clay in its original form is always able to be shaped and molded into the potter's desired image. Only when we plan our future in clay can God shape it according to his call. Only when we plan our future in clay can we be flexible enough to receive the flood of blessings God has stored for us. Will you let go of your tight grip on the future? Like Isaiah, will you put your future in the hands of the potter? May God be with all of us this coming week as we seek to become soft clay in the hands of our creator instead of rigid concrete. God be with all of us as we stop planning a "concrete" future and begin planning our future in clay.


Coming Next Week: The Hypocrisy of War Crimes


J-Wild 6:55 PM  

Whoa! Great post my friend, just fantastic. That'll preach.

ace,  7:09 PM  

Really like your concrete-clay contrast. Too many of my plans fit into the concrete category. And once I let my 'concrete' plans get 'set,' it's incredibly hard to 'reshape' my thinking. Wish I would have caught on to this idea sooner in life - the more I allow God to mold my plans, the less I will need to be broken.

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