Friday, August 8, 2008

Prepare now for later.....

Driving to work the other morning, I was listening to an NPR story about the imminent cost of heating oil on the Northeast part of the country. Yes, we’re in the middle of a very hot summer. But so far, after every summer comes fall, and then Winter. So far, it’s been a sure bet. Heating oil prices have almost doubled over the last year, as well as most every other type of fuel. The local officials are preparing for what could be a long and drawn-out crisis this winter. People are talking about what to do, and if they should even consider buying and stocking up with a wood burning stove to supplement their heating methods. Some people are stuck between a rock and a hard place in determining what they should spend their money on; their mortgage, their food, their medicine, or their heating fuel. One thing for sure: there are some who are making plans, and there are others who are not doing a thing about it.

After hearing this story, I was immediately reminded of the old Aesop fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper. This fable talks about a grasshopper that spends the warm summer months in complete ease. Taking and consuming the rich spoils that the summer months bring with total disregard to the imminent winter months. He reclines, he eats, he sings, and he plays, all in front of a colony of hard-working ants that just shake their heads as they pass him by. “You should be saving up now, for the winter to come”, they tell the grasshopper. “No way, Hosea” he says. “I’m just chillin like McGillan with all this summer produce.” The ants just shrug their shoulders and continue marching in line, with produce in hand to their stockpile. Fast forward a few months, into a cold part of the winter, and the wind blows cold over the ant and grasshopper neighborhood. Of course, the ants are deep inside their anthill, while the grasshopper is stuck outside.

The moral of this story of course goes something like this:
Idleness brings want.
To work today is to eat tomorrow.
It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

Of course, this story also has spiritual applications as well. Our lives are compared to a vapor, a puff of steam which can only been seen for a second, and then disappears. We cannot live our lives thinking that our future is sure. But, we should rely on God’s will for us and our lives, and allow Him to work in us, while we still have time. We should not be proud like the grasshopper and think that all is well and not make provisions for ourselves. God says that this kind of thinking is evil. God wants us to take a look around, and if we see good to do, then do it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should not prepare and make plans for our physical lives. In fact we also have the stern warning that if we don’t provide for our own, then we are judged worse than an unbelieving person. If we spend our life for the pleasures of this life, then we are considered by God to be dead while we live.

What my point is that Jesus himself, our perfect example, instructs us that we should not worry about the physical things of this life. But instead, we should focus upon the kingdom of God. By doing so, He has promised us that all these things will be added to us. Just like the ants in the story, knew of the impending winter, we too will have a day when the winter of our live will come. Will we, like the ant, be ready for that season? Will we have planned and worked in the kingdom, laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven? Or will we live our live like the grasshopper, without a care in life, spending out our days in physical joy and pleasure – not concerned about the kingdom or its benefits. I find myself quickly running out of time and needing to make a better decision in my life.

Lord, I pray, that you will pour out on your people, your Spirit. I pray that you will allow us to see the true meaning in life, that you will allow us to see the true reason why we are here, that you will help us to see the many opportunities in your kingdom. And that you will give us the courage to act on those opportunities. I pray for those opportunities, and I pray for your spirit of power and strength to allow me to act on those opportunities. I pray Lord, that I will not allow those opportunities to be wasted, and to pass me by. I pray, that I will act, while there is still time. Thank you Lord, for your blessings in live. Help me to see that you have blessed me for a reason, and help me to realize that you have blessed me far more than most people in this world. Help me to know and to realize that by giving me your gospel, that I have the most precious gift in the world, and there are many who do not know about it. Please use me to share that gift with others, Lord. Amen.
Am I listening to what God is saying in His word?

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