Do not boast about tomorrow... - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Biblical Wisdom Faith
November 1, 2017

Do not boast about tomorrow...

Proverbs 27:1 – “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

by Dr. Bill Edgar, Geneva College Board of Trustees Member, Former Geneva College President and longtime pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPNCA)

In 1975, I was a parent representative on the Upper Darby School Board Advisory Committee on Enrollment and School Consolidation. Our committee worked with School Board appointed Consultants to decide how many schools the District could sell to take advantage of declining enrollments. Showing their technical prowess, the consultants used a mathematical model to make the case for closing the most schools possible. However, all the model did was extend 1975’s trends into the future with straight-line projections. “What if the District population changes from 50% Catholic to 20%, or what if Catholic parents stop sending their kids to the Parochial Schools?” parents asked. There was no answer. There couldn’t be. Fortunately, parental pressure kept the School Board from selling the schools they closed, because the District’s demography did change over the next thirty years. Every school closed has now been reopened or replaced.

What was the Consultants’ problem? They did not know the future, specifically that in 1976 the birth rate in the District, along with in-migration of non-Catholics, would start rising. No one knows the future. As the saying goes, the real purpose of economists is to make weather forecasters look good.

But despite constant future-telling failure, people still want to know the future. The less sober read their daily horoscope or go to fortunetellers. The college educated trust climate scientists and writers of books like Professor Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb. What is the Lord’s advice about such prophets? Ignore them (Deuteronomy 18:22). Of course, if you can actually find an economist, or demographer, or climate-change doomer whose predictions consistently come true, listen to him.

The best way to create the future is through your own planning and hard work. God says, “Go ahead; make plans.” But He adds in this proverb and elsewhere, “but do not boast about them.” Never tell yourself or anyone else, “It’s as good as done,” or “This can’t miss.” Why? Because you do not even know how today will turn out, let alone, tomorrow. God regularly sends “Black Swans” into our lives to turn history this way and that according to His plan.

God’s hiding the future from us implies three things about how to live. First, look forward to each day, thinking, “Let’s see what the Lord will do today.” Life should never bore anyone since every day is part of God’s plan, revealed only as it unfolds. Second, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good (Ecclesiastes 11:6).” Diversify your skills, diversify your investments, and diversify your friends. Third, do not worry about tomorrow. Believers are in the hands of God who loves them, and tomorrow will take care of itself (Matthew 6:34).