Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (NIV)
When we pray during this upcoming holiday season of hope and celebration, we focus a lot on giving thanks and asking God to bless us and those we love. We do this a lot communally during this season. This may be the only time of the year that we use the words “blessings,” “thanks,” “prosperity,” and “hope” so often, or repeat phrases like “the year ahead” and “the year behind us.” We are reflecting, and we are hopeful. We pray that the year before us is a good one, and we give thanks for good things and the lessons learned in the year behind us. Wearing our Armor of God, we march forth into what awaits us in the future. Polishing off the dents and affronts to that armor, we think over the past and what it meant for our lives and our futures.
As individuals, I’m not sure we are always able to confront what transpired in the year behind us. Maybe we are hesitant to think about the future as well. As a worshipful group, however, we can confront these impending futures and reflect on troubled and happy pasts. As a group, we are strong, and we are ready for the future. We can confront what we learned or should have learned from the past and make sure that our armor is ready for the year ahead. Some of our plans for success in life are pretty lofty. Some of our fears for achievement or repeating problems of past years are also pretty prevalent and even daunting. If we pay attention to the verse referenced here, if we commit our prayers entirely to the Lord, our plans will come to fruition in some way.
Sometimes, deep inside we don’t realize that when we ask for financial stability, for example, we are really asking for a comfortable life and a way to take care of our families. We don’t always see the connection between voicing our need, making it real, and taking steps in our professional and Christian lives to make it happen. We don’t see that we are the instruments of our own success, and we don’t see that the Lord is helping us because we are prepared and ready. When we ask for a relative to be healed from an illness, we don’t always see that what we are really asking is for Jesus to be with that person in his or her need and that, with the comfort of the Lord, we all handle the situation better, no matter the outcome.
Being stewards to our church and to our God is actually easy in many ways. We want to provide monetary means for the church to continue its work in our lives and in the lives of others, and we want to be physically and spiritually present so that we can reap the benefits of a Christian life lived in service to God, to our church, and to others. Only then can we find true happiness and success, as the Lord will reward those who seek to better themselves and to serve Him in every way.