Blog by Stan Kellner – www.stankellner.com
My post for this week is actually a repeat of the one I did on the first of January of this year – 2010.
As I am continuing in God’s waiting room for His job provision and as time seems to be stretching longer than I expected toward this end, I couldn’t help but be reminded that it’s times like these in which I have the greater tendency to speculate. I have such a bent toward trying to figure things out and, often times, paint things bigger than they really are. So, to remind me about how not to do this (and maybe help some of you as a by-product) I am repeating this post.
Oh – before I get started I want to share a total God-thing. I recently got a temporary warehouse job (a three-week gig) which I love. With all the lifting I’m doing I’m starting a new business – “Body by Stan”. Ha! I’m also meeting a ton of people who come to the warehouse to pick up their wares for delivery.
Recently, as I was chatting with one of the customers, I discovered that he was a pastor and went through a very similar earth-shaking change about the same time I did – this past June.
We have been able to be a very unexpected blessing and encouragement to each other as we are walking a VERY similar path. So, I dedicate this post to my new bud and fellow-sojourner and to others who are walking through similar trials.
Here’s the post from January 2010:
I’m reminded of a young news guy who came onto the scene in cable news some years ago. Somewhere along the way he coined the phrase, “No Spin Zone” and now people all over the world recognize this as the famous catch phrase of Bill O’Reilly on Fox News. I’m not here to comment on Bill’s strengths, weaknesses, etc.
My point is I’m adopting, for 2010, the phrase “No Speculation Zone”.
Etymology: Latin speculatus, past participle of speculari to spy out, examine, from specula lookout post, from specere to look, look at —
intransitive verb 1 a: to meditate on or ponder a subject: reflect b: to review something idly or casually and often inconclusively
2: to assume a business risk in hope of gain; especially : to buy or sell in expectation of profiting from market fluctuationstransitive verb 1: to take to be true on the basis of insufficient evidence: theorize
2: to be curious or doubtful about: wonder <speculates whether it will rain all vacation>
I saved you time and looked up the word “speculate” for you in Webster’s online dictionary. Speculation isn’t all bad. The oil business literally mushroomed in growth due to those willing to speculate about oil locations, output probabilities, etc. The stock market is another place where speculation is a huge factor.
Let me distill it down to practical daily living. As a follower of Jesus I’ve come to recognize that as the Apostle Paul said, “I am the chief of sinners”, I can say that there are times when I feel that “I am the chief of speculators”.
My definition of speculation is simply this – taking thoughts about Bible promises and as I apply them to practical living, I begin to make voluminous lists in my mind as to how these promises should take place, how often, in what manner, etc. You get the idea. Of course, since I’m the only one on planet earth plagued with this tendency, I’ll just assume that you’ll have to strain to gain some kernel of truth that will be helpful to you. Ha Ha!
Also, before you get your hackles up – I appreciate and regularly exercise the concepts of examining, pondering, meditating and reflecting. I’m not arguing those points at all. But, go back up to the definition and notice the sections I put in bold. Ah! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!
Let’s look at it this way – all through the Bible we have examples of God’s promises and how common ordinary people, like you and me, tried to apply them, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much.
Abraham was told by God about his future as the leader of a nation. Good ole Abe stands as an example of my definition – he knew he was too old to have children and his wife, Sarai, was barren so, in the process of his speculations, he chose another route – had relations with Hagar, his handmaiden. Well, 3,000+ years later we know the outcome of that decision.
Joseph found himself in a pit (of despair) and then in leadership, then in prison, almost let out of prison, then in leadership again! I realize the Bible is rather silent on this, but my sense is that Joseph accepted God’s path without a whole lot of speculating or figuring out. He certainly, in his wildest dreams, never thought that he’d be second in command in Egypt and be God’s instrument for the physical salvation of Jacob and his tribes.
Am I saying it’s wrong to make goals or plans or strategies, etc.? Absolutely not. There are many places in the Bible where we are instructed to “count the cost”, “examine carefully”, “search things out”, among tons of other references.
What I am saying is let’s make our plans, goals, etc. but do them knowing that we are going to allow God to confirm, affirm, overrule, redirect, reconfigure, re-engineer, etc. Sort of reminds me of passages like “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Or this one, ”Faithful is He who has called you, and He will also do it”. (I Thessalonians 5:24). Let’s not forget this famous passage, ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and LEAN NOT on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and HE shall direct your paths”. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
In my personal walk with the Jesus I desire to hear God’s voice more clearly and be willing to be much quicker in my obedience, without resorting to the usual habit of allowing voluminous thoughts to flood my mind as to why this will work or why that won’t work. Rather, my desire is to take those thoughts captive and allow the Creator of the Universe (who, by the way, has a bit more experience than I) to guide my path day in and day out.
Sounds simplistic and perhaps even radical in our culture of exponentially increasing technology, success-driven business models, human potential, carving out my own destiny, the list goes on. I know this sounds radical but then, the One whom I follow was viewed as a radical in His day as well. So, I think I’m in good company.