I am pretty sure I have shared this before but it fits well with this week’s study:
Back in our days of being the youth pastor in St Louis Park, we
routinely had a Sr. Bible Quiz team, a team made up of junior and senior high
school students that would study a book or books of the New Testament and then
participate in “Quiz Meets.” At these meets, teams would compete with their
knowledge of the material. We had a tremendous run: we made it to the National
Finals every year over a 4 to 5-year period.
For much of that time (and for a few years leading up to that run), our coach was always pushing the students to study and to develop study patterns and plans. He would regularly tell the quizzers at practices: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” encouraging them to develop a personal study plan for quizzing. This plan worked well with school work and any extra-curricular activities they may be a part of as well.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That statement has proven to be true in so many areas of our lives. Friends, we must plan for the future and not just the future on this planet but for eternity as well.
In our passage for today, (as we continue our study through James and
the series, “Faith That Works”), we will
be considering “A Plan for Life” – one that includes God, not just our own
dreams and desires. Let’s look together at James chapter 4, where we’ll begin
in verse 13.
James 4:13-17 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will
go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a
profit’ — 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your
life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead
you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ 16 As
it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So
whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”
There was an officer in the navy who had always dreamed of commanding a battleship. He finally achieved that dream and was given commission of the newest and proudest ship in the fleet.
One stormy night, as the ship plowed through the seas, the captain was on duty on the bridge when off to the port-side he spotted a strange light rapidly closing in on his vessel. Immediately he ordered the signalman to flash the message to the unidentified craft, “Alter your course ten degrees to the south.”
Only a moment had passed before the reply came: “Alter your course ten degrees to the north.”
Determined that his ship would take a backseat to no other, the captain snapped out the order to be sent: “Alter course ten degrees – I am the CAPTAIN!”
The response beamed back, “Alter your course ten degrees – I am Seaman Third Class Jones.”
Enraged, the captain grabbed the signal light with his own hands and fired off: “Alter course, I am a battleship.”
The reply came back. “Alter your
course, I am a lighthouse.”
Friends, no matter how big or important any of us think we are, God’s Word stands firm and it is an unchanging, unmovable beacon. All other courses must be altered to God and His Word.