I never pay attention to weather forecasts.
Unlike my father-in-law, who practically lives by the Weather Channel, the local news station, and various weather apps on his phone, I rarely care enough to bother looking at what the weather will be like the next day or week ahead.
If it’s cold? I put on a jacket.
If it’s hot? I don’t put on a jacket.
If it’s raining? I take an umbrella.
If it’s not raining? I leave the umbrella behind in that tall, narrow vase in my living room (as I never gave it consideration in the first place).
Now, my mom would flip (and possibly will flip anyways) if she read any of that nonsense. Growing up, my mom knew exactly what the weather was going to be like, of course. She made sure we were dressed appropriately for whatever it called for, like any good, caring mother should. Sometimes this was in excess, like forcing thermal body underwear on us during wintertime. At least her heart was in the right place!
But there’s just something in me, for better or worse, that doesn’t like having foregone conclusions about anything. Yes, an optimistic streak abounds, but really I don’t like to operate in “what ifs” and leave my day in the hands of a meteorologist.
Yet, there’s so many others that live differently when it comes to this. They feel like it’s “being prepared” and knowing what’s ahead. But there are issues with that line of thinking, I believe.
I’ve always loved, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. While there is some modern debate about his intention of “taking the road less traveled”, I often like to use it as an allegory for life and motivation. Forks-in-the-road are obvious illustrations about decision-making and “which path to take”.
Basically for me, I rather make my choice when I get to a certain point, rather than walk away from ever getting started because of some foregone conclusion.
When I hear the words, “It’s going to rain tomorrow!” it sounds like a built-in excuse for inaction. If managing a workforce or volunteers, it is often accompanied by a request to delay until another day. But what if it rains the next day, and the day after that? Or, what if it’s sprinkling a bit and we make our decision to forego an activity based on… a little rain?
In other words, it becomes this slow, grinding, sludge of an existence where…
Nothing gets accomplished.
And I hate it!
One of the maddening things I have faced in church ministry as a pastor is snow storms. In South Carolina, we don’t get a great deal of those, but when we did… the whole place shuts down! I lived in Ohio for a few years when I was young and they had real winter storms. They also had the ability to combat those storms and get things up and running in no time.
But an inch of snow in SC might as well be an avalanche. You see, it often wouldn’t stay cold enough to let the snow flakes, in all of their fluffy glory, remain… well, snow. Instead, it would warm up just enough to wear that snow would melt a bit and turn into ice. Voila! Icy road conditions.
So, whenever a snow storm hit, it wasn’t about whether people’s home were buried under feet of snow. It was more about people avoiding a demolition derby on the way to Sunday service. And thus, I would be entrusted with the judgement call (of course, confirming with other pastors in the area) on whether or not to “cancel church” (which is terribly terminology, by the way).
I wish I could just do what I might try on a personal level: Step outside, get in my car, drive around, listen to the local radio and make a decision an hour before worship. But of course, that wouldn’t be enough time for communication and all of the other lovely considerations, too many to name here (okay, it’s late).
How many times do we say “no” to something before it even gets a fair shot at becoming a possibility? I didn’t say, “reality”, but rather a “possibility”. We far too often live our lives making “what-ifs” into “what-will-be’s” and thus…
Nothing gets accomplished.
Call me dumb, foolish, arrogant, or far too optimistic… but I’m willing to wait it out and see for myself before I give up hope. I think there’s a little bit of the gospel in that.
While there are many passages in the Bible that deal with preparation, decision-making, and taking action, I want to look at this a little deeper. What truly motivates us?
My “life verse” (cheesy christianese alert) has always been Colossians 3:23-24…
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
This means, to me, that whatever we put our efforts into, we should do it with all of our heart. Not because this passage is meant to be some sort of “hard work ethic” sensibility, but because it speaks to our relationship with God. If we as Christ-followers are who we say we are, then we will always do things with pure motives; the primary one being bringing glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This means, we bring Him with us wherever we go and in whatever we’re doing.
If our work is seen as excellent or beyond expectation, it might just point back to the One who inspires us and gives us life!
Somehow, I think we rob ourselves of that opportunity to show Jesus off if we let the “weather” dictate our schedule. We must fight, every day, to not worry about the possible roadblocks in front of us, but instead, focus on results.
In other words, take an umbrella with you and get to work.