Where will we be in five years? What are we building now? It is easy to predict the future for our families and marriages, jobs and businesses, and churches. I met a man recently who had a five year plan with his wife, and the plan was working. The whole family was prospering in changing times. This is a spiritual lesson we can learn from terrorists.
Recently an angry man Ahmad Khan Rahami was arrested for several terrorist bombings near New York City. Apparently he is typical of a new threat to us all a “lone wolf terrorist” who acts without ties to a larger group. Politicians are warning us that anyone, in isolation, can become a violent terrorist and hurt us all.
I disagree. There is a lot of discussion about the threat of violence and terrorism and isolated lone wolves, and one side in the conversation believes that successful people always work with a team. One analyst wrote about Ahmad Rahami and the “misnomer” of the lone wolf.
People never do great things alone; we only go as far as our team can take us. If we expand success to include bad things, we can say that some terrible projects in history were successful. It is simply true that any success comes from a project, and every project has a plan, and every plan has planners.
As I write this, investigators are searching for the planners who inspired Mr Rahami. He is accused of detonating at least three bombs, including one that injured 31 people in New York. They are searching for the evil team that worked with him. Evil has deep roots.
So how does this information inspire Christians?
Do you know the line from the song “Why should the devil have all the good music?” Here’s another one; Why should the devil have all the good projects? I am one of many people who watched the series “Narcos” about Pablo Escobar and others, who built huge business empires around illegal drugs. The sophistication of the drug entrepreneurs is very impressive, as they work to destroy our lives.
There is a story that one drug lord stored vast amounts of money, in cash, in secret warehouses because he made too much to spend. His greatest business losses came from rats that ate the bills.
On the good side, the stories of Jesus, in the Bible, are the record of a huge project. Jesus carefully recruited his team and apprenticed them for three years, and then sent them into the world, and He was successful.
Maybe it’s just me, but I see Christians and good people in general, trying hard to enjoy life while terrorists and criminals build sophisticated projects. And the future will be made from the things that we build.
All the stories in the Bible show the deep roots of God’s work, God’s projects: Noah and the ark, Moses and the exodus, Solomon and the temple, Nehemiah and the restoration, Jesus and his church, Paul and first churches, and many more. Every story includes a well planned and carefully executed project. Try to find a spontaneous event in the Bible. Every story has roots. Moses started his career at 40 and did his best work at 80.
Too many of our Christian churches are living on tradition until the old generation dies off. Like the farmer who won a million dollars in a lottery. He planned to keep farming until it was all spent.
This truth is too good for the terrorists; we have what we build and we need to be building, that is the definition of the Christian life.
In the words of Jesus:
Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. ( Matthew 7:24-27)