The Illusion of Control
Life has a way of interrupting the illusion that we are in control. For many of us, (self-included) this is an unwelcome reality. Over the past week, I have been confronted with this reality more than once. Coronavirus for example, the fears of a possible pandemic affecting large gatherings of people… Easter comes to mind. As men, we do our best to plan and prepare as (James instructs us) with the understanding that life is not really in our control.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16 NIV)
I draw comfort in the fact that although life is not in my control, it does not mean that God is not in control. We need not be paralyzed with fear or be stuck in a paralysis of indecision. God is with us and for us. Humbly take your plans and requests before God and act with the assurance that He is with you and will give you the wisdom and grace to adjust as needed.
In the parable of the talents, Jesus chastised the one who received one talent for making excuses rather than taking prudent action.
[The Parable of the Talents] “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:14-30 ESV)
The point of the parable is that life is a gift to steward. We don’t control the future, but we are responsible for doing something with what God has given us. Don’t talk yourself out of doing what God leads you to do. Have the hard conversation, take the risk, share your faith, invite that co-worker to church, invest well. It’s all in His hands, anyway. Therefore, we are praying for, planning for, and working towards having 3,000 people join us for Easter this year. Will you join me in praying and inviting towards that end?
Dr. Chuck Martin
Lead Pastor, Frisco First Baptist Church