I also came to see that I should not worry about tomorrow, next week, next year, or the next century. The more willing I was to look honestly at what I was thinking and saying and doing now, the more easily I would come into touch with the movement of God’s Spirit in me, leading me to the future. God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment in which they live the steps they are to take toward the future. “Do Not worry about tomorrow,” Jesus says. “Tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34) — In the Name of Jesus by Henri J.M. Nouwen
This is so counter-intuitive. I have just begun reading In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was asked to make a presentation to Catholic priests on Christian leadership in the 21st century. This book is the result of that presentation and was published in 1989. It is now out of print. I have no idea when I bought it or why. I also have no idea why it popped up on top of a stack of books in our dismantled study, but it did.
I was struck by this quote in the prologue as it relates directly to what our church leadership will be doing this afternoon. We will be attempting to project what kind of church we want to be in the future. The process we’ve started has challenged us to look at where we think our community will be seven years from now. I’ve done this kind of thing many times, both within the church and in business. While helpful, it is easy to get distracted by speculation regarding a future we cannot know and do not control. Six months ago, who would have projected that in one month 5% of Sonoma County housing would be destroyed. No one that I know of.
I love to speculate and I’m fascinated by the work of futurists, but I’m thinking Nouwen’s advice is timely. We all need to hear from God more than we need to hear from the prophets in the world. I pray that we will spend most of our time today honestly looking at where we are now and allow God’s Spirit to speak to us through that about our next steps.