Stand Today, Act Today

2 mins read

No one can predict the future.

It does seems to be, though, that lots of people find comfort in thinking they can. Social media feeds are full of declarations about tomorrow that were wrong. I suppose certain kinds of people find solace in thinking they know what will happen. Maybe it’s a type of self-created security.

Thankfully for Christians, our security rests in Jesus Christ, and he doesn’t expect us to know the future. He does expect things from us, but not powers of prediction.

One of my favorite videos on the internet is The Story of the Chinese Farmer given by Alan Watts.

The written version is a bit longer, but it’s almost as good.

The Story of the Chinese Farmer

Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer whose horse ran away. That evening, all of his neighbors came around to commiserate. They said, “We are so sorry to hear your horse has run away. This is most unfortunate.” The farmer said, “Maybe.” The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it, and in the evening everybody came back and said, “Oh, isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events. You now have eight horses!” The farmer again said, “Maybe.”

The following day his son tried to break one of the horses, and while riding it, he was thrown and broke his leg. The neighbors then said, “Oh dear, that’s too bad,” and the farmer responded, “Maybe.” The next day the conscription officers came around to conscript people into the army, and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg. Again all the neighbors came around and said, “Isn’t that great!” Again, he said, “Maybe.”

The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad — because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune; or, you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.

– Alan Watts

The Story of The Chinese Farmer is true. None of us can predict the future and it’s impossible to know what may come of events today, good or bad. At best, we can look at what has happened throughout history as a guide for what may happen tomorrow in new way. There is nothing new under the sun, after all.

Jesus himself said he couldn’t predict his own return, but again, he doesn’t expect us to either. What Jesus expects is for us to worship him today and act today. He expects us to be prepared and to not be caught asleep in the master’s house.

Peter says it like this, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” – 1 Peter 2

Have faith. Love your neighbors as yourself. Help those in need. Stand firm for God. Do good today.

We don’t know tomorrow will bring, but we do know who wins.

American son of the Appalachian mountains. Happily married father of several and devoted man of God. Hold fast.

1 Comment

  1. Indeed, watch and pray… To put it in terms even an atheist can understand, the day Odysseus returns to Ithaka, you don’t want to be one of the Suitors.

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