A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.
Last week we determined that we are controlled by our thoughts and we need to take a look at the thoughts we need to turn over to God and let him help us change. Today, I want us to consider this thought. You can change before you have to instead of because you have to.
Let me give that to you once more, then I’m going to pause for just a second or two to let you consider it with me. You can change before you have to instead of because you have to.
I mentioned last week that I have a business that deals in change management. One of the aspects of that service looks at the life cycle of organizations to help leaders determine how well they are poised for change. The thought above is very true, but too many of my clients have waited too long and determine they are well past that “change before they have to” part and are in the throes of change because they have to.” The business figured out their profits have started along that downhill slide on the life cycle of a dying business. They know they must change if their company hopes to survive.
Every once in a while, though, a smart CEO or owner will take a look at their business before they must change. They examine their business while still moving ahead before they get to the top of that peak of economic prosperity. They look around at other businesses around them and take a gander at opportunities the market has to offer and they recognize their great ideas from a few years ago are now just run of the mill and you can find like products and services on every street corner and often much cheaper than what they offer. They know they must change if they are to survive in the long run and so they change and manage that change well. The change causes a small blip in their profit curve, but then it recovers from the blip and climbs rapidly in the market again. Change happens, management matters.
But what about us as individuals? Well, guess what, we will change. All of us must change. The question each of us must answer is will we change before we have to or because we have to. Maybe the change is because of the loss of income with a job loss. Maybe health issues puts a stop to certain physical activities. Maybe the loss of a loved one causes immediate change. These kinds of changes can come unexpectedly and without warning. We change because we have to.
Others we can prepare for and although we know they are coming, we can be ready for them or at least as ready as we can. What kinds of things can we prepare in advance? Retirement is one. Too many in this country rely solely on Social Security for their retirement income. If that’s your only income, you will live below the poverty level. It was never designed to be the sole retirement mechanism for the population. It was designed as a safety net for those without means of support. What does that mean? If you are in your twenties or thirties and just starting your career, put away some portion of your income into a retirement fund now. It doesn’t have to be much, but get into the habit of putting it away where you can’t get to it easily. You will need it when you retire.
If you are in your forties or fifties, you can still begin to catch up, but you will need to start putting away larger sums of money quickly before it is too late. And teach your kids to put money away for retirement. You need funds for retirement a lot more than you need this year’s model car. You need funds for retirement a lot more than you need a swimming pool in your backyard or a house to impress your friends with extra rooms that will just sit empty all the time.
And if you are already retirement age, you understand exactly what I’m talking about and you should share your wisdom with those who are coming along behind you. We live in a very materialistic, instant gratification society that will implode on itself if we do not change our ways soon. Change before you have to, not because you have to. Solomon talked about the ants that store away food for the winter. Smart little creatures!
And how about death? We don’t like to talk about it, but do you have a will? Will all your assets get tied up in probate court waiting for lawyers and judges and the state to figure out what to do with your property? Wills fix those things and they are usually very easy and simple to execute. How about a living will so family members don’t have to make the traumatic emotional decisions about your quality of life if you are in a hospital bed with little or no brain activity but can be made to exist on life support for months on end? Life insurance? Funeral arrangements? These all sound like morbid things, and they are. But all of them are much easier to attend to before someone rolls out a casket in front of you and you have to make those decisions while you are still in the shock of have lost someone so dear to you.
How about spiritually? To get to heaven, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That’s pretty straight forward. We are all sinners. Some have been saved by his grace. We are all invited. He offers all the gift of his forgiveness. But a gift is not a gift until it is received. Until we accept it willingly, we don’t have the gift he offers. God’s desire is that we would all accept the gift he offers. He also knows that we are stubborn and there will be some that will go their own way and refuse him. I hate to talk about it, but as surely as there is a heaven because God is full of love and grace and mercy, there is also a hell because God is also just and holy and true to his word. He has never changed. We must if we are to be in his presence face to face one day.
We are back to that haunting thought that we started with today. You can change before you have to instead of because you have to. Sometimes life is not fair and we are blindsided by events that force us to change because of them. Receiving the gift of God’s grace and mercy and the forgiveness of our sins is a change that can happen right now. This very moment. All you have to do is ask him with a repentant heart and he will do it. Come on and let him change you. New life is yours for the asking.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.