5/30/13 - PTC_Proverbs 24 - "A Sustainable Life" (KL - link the reference to Giant Love in the prayer)
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.
"Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house."
What does it mean to prepare?
I know we know what it means cognitively, but practically what does it mean to prepare? Preparing means taking seriously something in the future. It means doing the far less exciting and far less glorified work toward a more exciting and glorified goal. I live in the tension of these two worlds. I love teaching/preaching, but I'm only as effective "on stage" as I am "off stage" in the inconspicuous times of prep. Here we see an example that was nearly universal to the original readers of this passage. Most people lived in an agrarian society where you live and die by what you hunt and kill or what you grow from the land. So, the wisdom here makes total sense. Don't attempt to build your house until you have established some way to sustain your life. Here's a novel thought…God wants you to have a sustainable life. God is not a fan of you making rash decisions only to wake up down the road and wonder why everything is falling apart. We all have seen this play out in people's lives. Everything from buying a house, to getting married, to buying a car to starting a business. We have a hard time making the sustainable choices that protect the future.
I believe this proverb sets up a vital principle for establishing a meaningful life. Preparation matters. Nearly every privilege or "good thing" comes after the price of prep and responsibility has been paid. Unfortunately, there is a deception that lurks around this principle. We live in a society that has devised countless ways to achieve privilege without requiring much, if any, prep or responsibility. This is frankly out of order from God's perspective. God's big picture is a sustainable life, not a momentary life.
There is a lot of popularity around the idea that "You Only Live Once... YOLO!" and "Live like you were dying." However, this is not what we see in Scripture. We see a delicate balance of "making the most of every opportunity (Eph. 4)" and preparing for the future as we see here. The idea is as Christians we trust in God's ability alone regarding the end of our life. We don't take a fatalistic view of life, instead we assume God wants us here for the long run, unless He deems otherwise. Trust me, He'll let you know. Making the most of every opportunity means both living in the moment and preparing for the next. It sounds noble to say, "You only live once!" But we must not allow ourselves to think that God's work in and through us is contained in this moment. We must also prepare for the future of God's work as we live each moment.
This proverb addresses another thing that we simply resist...delayed gratification. We all prefer to take care of selfish desires first, but remember, God wants you to enjoy life in a sustainable manner. So, we must deny self and prepare our work. We must invest in what carries us forward. I remember when this truth really settled in. We were in front of a lawyer setting up Cooper's special needs trust. I love my children with all my heart and I realized that one of my primary roles as a father is to think about what my children cannot even fathom right now. I have to reduce our lifestyle in order to ensure that in the event of my "untimely demise" my children are properly cared for. Is this a lack of faith? NO this is recognizing reality and preparing for the future.
Let me urge you not to take lightly the importance of this wisdom. Here are some application questions to think through. Please try to be honest of the good of your future.
Am I taking on consumer debt?
Am I "robbing God" by not giving my tithe (10%) and thus not helping the Church prepare for the future?
Am I trying to "keep up with the Jones'"in any way?
Would I be willing to take a month or two or six and not purchase anything for myself?
What are the top 3 distractions to preparing for the future? Too much TV? Too much social media?
What are 3 steps you need to take to prepare for the future?
Is there someone who needs to hear the Gospel from you?
God, as I think through all this, that last question rings the loudest. The greatest future we could prepare for is Eternity. Lord, I pray you keep me close to the heart of the Great Commission. Make me aware of opportunities to share the Gospel. I pray for parents who need to be intentional and share the Gospel with their kids. I pray that the Giant Love
book would continue to be used to help kids come to faith in Christ. God, I pray for financial freedom for many. I pray that debts could be paid and people begin to make choices in line with a sustainable life. Thank you for the example of my dad who always kept an eye on the future and was disciplined not to over stretch and put our family in jeopardy. Help me do the same for my family. God, I pray for Highpoint Church. I pray that as the growth and expansion of the church continues that You would keep us in that balance of making the most of opportunities today and preparing for the future. Thank you that you gave Your Son, Jesus as the ultimate investment in the future. God, I pray we walk in light of His sacrifice today. AMEN.
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