Thursday, July 12, 2012

Faith Works 7-14

Faith Works 7-14-12

Jeff Gill

The Lad doesn't like hearing me say it, but this is the time of the summer when I say to him "there's not much vacation left: what do you want to do with it?"
The last few years we've tried to make a plan in May and have a special project or two from the start, but the recent years include summer reading required for the new school year, plus once you've helped with Cub Scout day camp, gone to Scout camp yourself, we've gotten in some family vacation or trips to various family households in Indiana, and the whole Fourth of July melee, the fact of the matter is that there's not much break left.
Add in that marching band actually starts the last day of July this year, and I can't blame him for feeling like his summer is over before it began.
Which to my way of thinking is an argument for a little planning, in order to make the most of it. You don't want to get too tied to your plan, and then be miserable when small details don't go as anticipated, but a plan taking into account the time you have to work with, and what you want to accomplish or even enjoy, can really make the time last longer.
Michael Hyatt, the author & former head of Thomas Nelson Publishing, is a big advocate of having a life plan. You can find his materials and suggestions very easily online, but he's passionate about saying, especially to Christians, that we really owe it to the One who gave us this life to stop and pray and consider and plan how we will use this gift. He points out, accurately I think, that sometimes we avoid doing a life plan because it implies from the outset that our life plan has an arc, and an unavoidable end, so it's easier to just "live for today."
Hyatt says that this sort of living is dangerously close to heretical (at least for Christians it would be!).
We have a certain amount of time on earth, just as summer vacation only lasts so long. We have the promise of eternity ahead, which gives us both hope and a new way to look at our mortal life, but that doesn't mean we should assume that our time here is just a prelude, or of lesser significance. How do we want to spend this gift? A plan can actually help us enjoy that, and not quietly dread the end of it. A life plan might just make the days stretch out enjoyably, even as we know that band camp is coming.
What's your life plan? This summer might be a good time to take a step back, prayerfully look at where you are and where you're going; to think about what God is inviting you to do with your life, and make a plan for following those leadings.

A vacation might be the perfect time and place to do that sort of worshipful work . . .

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor; tell him what stories you've heard this summer at, or follow @Knapsack on Twitter.