Joyce and I married in 1961. I was a senior in David Lipscomb College. She earnestly sought a job, any job (which took three months to find). I preached for the Old Charlotte Road congregation for $25 a week. Rent was $50 a month. The other $50 actually bought our food and paid our bills.

In 1961 we bought our first life insurance policy. The amount: $10,000. We were assured (and convinced) that $10,000 could care for Joyce for life.

Has our world changed? Radically! In the 1960s people used goals to prepare for the future. Goals were calculated and strategies formed. While change was a part of the formula, it was an extremely small part. Change occurred very slowly.

Now a formula's most important factor is change. At times change seems to be the entire equation! Age 61 rapidly approaches. This year Joyce and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. The 1961 amount of $10,000 that could "care for a lifetime of needs" cannot buy a "mid-line" new car, or provide housing for two years, or buy groceries for a long period.

Today life travels in amazing transitions at breakneck speeds. The 1960s was a goal-oriented era. It was so simple: set the goal; form the plan; work hard; reap the results (choose a career, get the education, accept the job, reach a secure retirement).

Now it is so complex. That "goals era" is dead. Now it is "identify and address existing now needs."

"Now" we must prepare well for the uncertain. Not the uncertainties of 2010--the uncertainties of 2001! How can we make "good preparation" for the uncertain? We prepare for 2001's uncertainties by addressing "now's" needs wisely. We use "now" wisely by doing three things. (1) Identify basic "now" needs. (2) Admit those "now" needs are real. (3) Honestly address "now" needs.

We prepare for 2010 by addressing the needs of 2001. It is impossible to live in the past. It is impossible to imagine the future. What is possible? Address "now" wisely.

Your staff does not preach sermons just to "say something," or teach classes to do "our job," or plan and pray because "preachers should." We constantly study, think, pray, and plan as we ask God to use Jesus to address the very real needs of "now." We refuse to work, plan, preach, or teach "haphazardly." May everyone seriously approach God in serious times. Daily live in relationship with God. Worship to change your heart.

Jesus said, "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness ... Do not be anxious for tomorrow ... Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:33,34).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 7 January 2001

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