For those in the post WW II generation (like me), the level of instability in the world today is unprecedented. Of course our forefathers would sniff in disdain at that statement, but the fact remains that my tribe has not been through the level of disruption that my parents and grandparents faced with a Great Depression bracketed by two world wars.
Today we look at the wobbly US economy, the unresolved questions about Obamacare, Japan’s mega catastrophes, the sudden domino effect in the Middle East, the European economic rumbles, demonstrations in England against the austerity measures, China’s hyper-reactivity to the threat of grass-roots insurgency, the Internet switch now controlled by a single individual, global terrorism by sundry groups and our marvelously scrambled political scene, both in the present Congress and in the pending elections.
Each of these issues is unresolved. Each is volatile. Each could take years to resolve. Each could end up in a wide range of different configurations. And most of these would have a very direct impact on your life and mine, depending on how they turn out.
Against that backdrop, we hear a cacophony of voices from the religious realm. The American economy is on the verge of collapse so we need to stockpile three months worth of food for our family. Terrorists will use biological warfare on us. The one world government is about to take over and Christians will be sent to concentration camps. The Big One is coming to California. The millennial generation is going to redeem the arts in an unprecedented way, and Hollywood will become the next center for Kingdom enterprises. The transfer of wealth from the sinners to the saints is going to happen at any time. Revival is coming on an unprecedented level.
Frankly, that is a rather massive spread of options, with each proponent passionate about our need to synchronize to their world view and change our lifestyle to adapt to that scenario.
Who to believe?
Or more to the point, how do you plan for the future if you have no idea which future to plan for.
Even more to the point, if you have been living at the survival level in your relationships and your economy for years, what can you really do to prepare for anything? If you had any social capital, or economic resources, you would use them to get out of your tight spot. The idea of “reallocating your resources” is somewhere between a hoot and a farce since your paycheck is like the tide — comes in and goes out the same day.
However, Noble Subjects are not supposed to just sit around and let life happen to them. Furthermore, 99% of the strategies out there are about self-preservation and that is not what a Noble Subject lives for.
We are to take raw materials, leverage them into strategic resources, and make them available to the King for His use in times of peace and war, for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, while considering ourselves fully expendable at all times.
So whether the future holds good news or bad news for us and our community, our marching orders are the same. When a huge move of God comes, we are to be an asset to the King, moving His agenda forward to the fullest extent possible, rather than defaulting into the taking mode, being first in line to get as much from Him as we can.
When bad times come, we are to be an asset to the King, moving His agenda forward to the fullest extent possible, rather than being needy, and demanding that He resource us.
Those are lofty goals when most of us are already not feeling overly well resourced. Nonetheless, I do believe that it is possible for most of us to live in a far more strategic manner than we have been. I also passionately believe that the goal is not to protect our lives and our possessions, but to forward the agenda of the King at all costs.
In succeeding posts, I am going to share my strategy for the future. Like all the rest of you, I don’t know what the future holds so I look for strategies that will satisfy three scenarios.
I take the worst case scenario of a totalitarian anti-Christian regime taking over America, and my being in solitary confinement, with skilled mind control people trying to break me, somewhat like Dietrich Bonhoeffer experienced.
Then I take a middle of the road scenario of life going on approximately as it has gone on for the last three years, with some turbulence, and ever-changing rules, but with enough stability and civil liberties that I can run a business and communicate broadly.
Finally, I take the best case scenario of the long-awaited explosive new visitation from God which will be wildly different from anything we expect. I put it on the number line at the opposite end of the prison scene.
Then I look for choices which will prepare me equally for all three scenarios. My job is to have resources to offer to the King, while remaining expendable. I have been working on this model for years and believe I have something which is highly transferable to others as well as applicable to my own scenario.
But before I start sharing that in a series of posts, there is a piece of work you need to do.
You need to do an inventory of resources you can invest in your future. Before you push back emotionally, hear me out.
I receive all too many e-mails from people who work hard to convince me that they are absolutely powerless, they have exhausted all their own resources and therefore must have a transfusion of resources from me.
There are some cases where that is true, but most of the time it is a lack of perspective on their part not a lack of resources. I am quick to agree that they do not have the resources other people have nor do they have the resources they would like to have, but I disagree that they have no useful resources. My experience is almost everyone has more resources than they see, they simply don’t think in terms of how to leverage what they have. They are conditioned to think about the resources they want, not the ones they have.
So do take the time to develop a thorough inventory.
Start with your most valuable resource: time. What time do you have that is not already mortgaged? Could you use your drive time to work? Could you skip lunch with the guys at work and spend it in your car working on a meaningful project? Could you skip the evening news once a week?
Be realistic. There is a lot of time in most people’s lives where their body is busy, but their mind is not and you can multitask in that time. There was a season of time when I kept my Bible memorization cards in the bathroom and did most of my memory work there. I have done a lot of praying while mowing the lawn or vacuuming.
Next you need to make a list of the already available resources you have, just so you can actually see it and think of those things in terms of building strategies. If you are reading this, you know how to read, you have Internet connectivity, a computer of some sort — or at least a smart phone — and probably an e-mail address. All of these are assets that you could use to move forward in life.
Finally, you need a list of potential assets which would need some work before they could actually help you. For example, you may have a bunch of stuff you could sell at a garage sale to turn into cash. Or you may have a spare bedroom you could shovel out and use as a prophet’s chamber to invite spiritually dynamic people into your home.
1) Make a list of discretionary time.
2) Make a list of fully available resources.
3) Make a list of potentially available resources.
Have these three lists available as you read the subsequent posts about how to position yourself for the future.
Copyright March 2011 by Arthur Burk
From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim