Living with an Open Agenda
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)
If there's a lesson I have learned through these last three months, it is this: I can't control the circumstances around me. My plans all changed with the travel bans, social distancing, and self-isolation. And no one asked me about it!
There are two extremes that seem to identify who we are in our approach to life. First, there are the laissez-faire types with the motto: “Let go and let God.” Life happens to you and there’s not much you can do.” Secondly, there are those who are planned and controlled, who reflect the mantra, “God helps those who help themselves.”
Somewhere in the middle is the possibility of planning, dreaming, and seeking God as we chart our course, allowing for the unexpected circumstances or opportunities that God may bring our way. Life is neither a predetermined plot from which we have no escape, nor is it a free-flowing river that’s never been navigated. Two truths are held in tension: There are choices we make that affect the outcome of our lives, but there is a God who guides us and cares for us in the midst of our circumstances.
As I read this verse there were two other verses that came to mind, reminding me that I need to live with an open agenda:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)
Now then, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast and brag. (James 4:13-15)