Proverbs 16:9 NASB
The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
I love the game of pool, but unfortunately I have never been able to play it enough to get good at it, but in fact I haven’t played it that much at all. I can probably count on my fingers and toes the number of times I have played the game. The thing that intrigues me about the game is the person who gets really good at it, plans every shot so that he is setting himself up for the next shot. The beginner usually takes the easiest shot and relies on chance as wherever the ball stops he plans his next shot, and unless he is a really good shooter, he might luck out a few times but the odds are against the person who doesn’t properly plan a couple of shots down the road. It is amazing to see what people can do who have spent their 10,000 hours they need to invest to get to be great at playing pool, making combination shots and trick shots. I’ve seen people do things that I didn’t even think was possible to do.
For some people life is much like the game of pool, they plan their shots. They go about their life having an idea where they want to end up, and they plan all the moves to try to get to that point. Then there are some people who are of the slop shot mentality. They aim the Q-ball at the masses shoot and hope they get a few balls in the pocket. These individuals are the ones who approach life as doing what they want to do, and they end up wherever the currents in the stream of life takes them.
Which way is the correct way to live life? I would say that I guess it depends upon the individual. Some of us were lucky enough to have parents that were good at giving us direction, and some of us were on our own at a very early age. In my own case, my father always said he got through the 9th grade in school, but after he passed, my mother told me that he didn’t attend much school after the 6th grade, as they worked in farming, and in the Spring of the year that meant plowing and in the Fall of the year that meant the harvesting. When I was in the 9th grade, my dad said son your on your own, I can’t help you any more because your beyond where I got in school.
No matter which way we live our lives, planning every move or just taking the slop shot, we progress down the way, but I believe God directs the steps. I have been the person that tried to plan every move. I knew what poverty is like, and I didn’t want to be poor, so I took the path of the least resistance and I liked developing real estate, and twice in life I had a nice real estate portfolio only to have it wiped out by recession.
I had these fond dreams of retiring in a nice house with a good income and living the good life. Of course retiring is different in each of our concepts as I always need something to do to keep occupied. My concept of retirement is not chasing a ball around a golf course and getting my ego stroked by how great I am at putting a ball in a hole. Sorry golfers if this strokes you the wrong way (pun intended). I use to be an avid sports person, watching sports of all types, but there came a day that I realized that what the score of the Dallas Cowboys over the Denver Broncos in the 1970′s, would mean nothing in the year 2050, and why do I waste so much time as a couch potato worshiping at the feet of the large screen TV.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe God loves the Oregon Ducks, and they are sacred in His eyes, so it is OK to watch them(in humor). No the idea is do everything with some restraint. I can remember a commercial back in the years past where the man of the house was going into his den for a weekend of watching sports and it was like he was leaving his wife for the weekend saying their good buys as he would not be around until Sunday night to go to bed. I would say that is pushing it a bit, but then there are those weekends when the playoff’s happen and it is cold and rainy outside, so there isn’t much else to do than to put a log on the fire and sit back and enjoy the game. Only thing is sometimes after 4 football games on a weekend, I start feeling over stuffed with the subject.
Back to the subject, man makes his plans but the Lord directs his steps. What is the right way? St. Augustine back in the 4th century when asked the right way to live your life said “Love God and do as you please.” Now some may take that as a license to sin, but that is not how it was intended. If you really love God, you are not going to live a life of sinning, is the intent.
So much of my life was spent wondering which way to go, wanting to know Gods will in my life. Happy day it was when I learned what Gods will was for me. The Israelite s traveled in the desert following the pillar of fire at night and the cloud by day. Why? Because they were following the path of least resistance, going where it was comfortable. The priests wore linen while working in the temple. Why? Because God wanted them to be comfortable and wool is itchy and sweaty, often too warm for comfort. How I wish I had known this about Gods will when I was a much younger man. How many people may have been coerced into a path that was not for them because of not understanding God in his proper light.
I lived much of my life responding to Gods command to “Go ye! Into all the world and preach the gospel!” In the imperative sense. I learned at my short stint in seminary that this was a mistranslation and the more accurate translation is “As ye are going into all the World preach the gospel to every creature.” A more passive sort of direction for our path to follow and our steps to be directed.
I have always been a rebel when it comes to coercion. I hate to be coerced into doing something. Many parents make big mistakes by coercing their children into doing something the child doesn’t want to do. My own father wanted me to sing in the choir all the time and did things to try to make me do it. I had no love for the subject, and any attempt he made to make me do it caused me to hate it all the more. It would have been much better if he would have done something like, “Dave there will be an extra buck in your allowance if you sing in the choir”, but then I don’t remember getting an allowance. Some people are drawn to music, I wasn’t. I appreciate music, I would now like to perform music, but one has to love something in order to pay the dues to go on with it. Me, I loved getting the tar kicked out of me on the football field, morbid wretch that I am?
Be of good cheer for we believe in God.
David L. Moody