Present or Future Focused?

July 14, 2015

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No President will get elected on a platform of restraint and cutting back. Political and economic decisions are often made for today without thinking of the future.

In South Africa, where I live and work, we are having an electricity crisis. They need rolling blackouts because the demand exceeds capacity. The attempt to shut it down as little as possible, puts us dangerously close a national blackout because the buffer is so little.

Perhaps they should shut down power in more of the country so they can fix the problem faster?

Even in our personal lives, how often does the lure of “now” influence our purchases? That new cell phone or the upgraded car seem so needed, so we lock ourselves into a long-term contract. Don’t even get me started about debt versus savings rates in most homes!

God has a few things to say about being future focused. There are a series of verses in Deuteronomy which all have this in common.

“Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit.  And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.” (Deuteronomy 20:5-7)

A new house, a new vineyard, or a new wife? God says stay home from battle. Huh?

The future is more important than the present.

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God takes it one step further, showing his heart for fruit trees.

Yes, you read that right…fruit trees.

“When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.” (Deuteronomy 20:19-20)

As Israel conquered a city, it would have been so much easier to mow down all the trees. But, God wanted to spare those with fruit.

Why?

After taking a city the men would be hungry! Those trees would provide fruit in the future. Cutting them down now would make things easier, but they would lose out in the future.

Do you notice a common theme?

God does not want people to mortgage the future for short-term gain.

How many times have we made decisions we later regretted due to the short-sightedness of them?

In some cultures, planning is looked at as a trait of certain nationalities or personalities.

This shows planning is a God thing

Don’t just consider the easiest decision today. Think about the future.

Since we serve a God who knows the future, how much more should we be able to make wise decisions coupling His wisdom with our own!

Are you present or future focused?

This consideration is a key to making better decisions. That is something we all desire!

Photo credit: Escadean / Sherborne 1742 via photopin (license)

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God