When Tomorrow Comes
March 23, 2017
A key leadership responsibility is preparing for the future. That’s difficult considering the chaotic, rapidly-changing time in which we live. Still, there are things we know and for which we can prepare.
First, when tomorrow comes we will not be exempt from the principalities and powers who are working to destroy human life created in God’s image. As perplexing as the manifestation of evil is, the Bible shows us that our enemy works at every level of society. How do we understand the increasing coarseness of our political life, the growing vulgarity in public life, even the division and compromise that threatens our church life, without knowing that our enemy is working to destroy that which God loves? Whatever happens tomorrow, expect and prepare for spiritual opposition.
Second, though the powers of darkness are working to destroy us, God has put limitations on the principalities and powers. Evil exists, but God is in control, and he even uses evil men to accomplish good things. We must not fall into the trap of overestimating the enemy and underestimating God. When tomorrow comes, God will be on his throne, hearing our prayers, accomplishing his agenda, and rescuing human beings from our sin and stupidity. This is our true basis for optimism when tomorrow comes.
Third, discipling children is essential for a bright tomorrow. If you don’t disciple your children, the world will. The principalities and powers work to distort the human mind and this begins in childhood. Preschool children develop ideas about the world’s workings, and the “powers” work to conform the minds and hearts of our kids to the world’s ways. We must fight this. Every believer, every church, must work to reach children and teach them to obey God. Whatever you do, don’t forget the children who will inhabit tomorrow’s world.
Fourth, the American Church is returning to the norm. The Church is a pilgrim people, out-of-step with society, increasingly poor, often persecuted. The American Church has escaped the norm for much of our history, but that is changing. We need to prepare for this. Most of the world’s believers are already poor and persecuted. There are more Christians in Africa than in Europe and the United States combined, and they are mostly poor. China has about the same number of weekly worshippers as the U.S. does, and they are persecuted.
I’m not saying the American church will experience what the Asian church does today, but a bright tomorrow requires that we put our hope in God and not in the American political process. Not that we should abandon political participation, but spiritual work is done on our knees before an open Bible.
In this issue of the Witness you will read about Bill Crews, retired NWBC executive director and former seminary president, who recently graduated to Heaven. He was a friend, mentor and example to many of us. Bill was a leader who always looked to the future. May each of us do likewise.