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What Are You Doing Tomorrow?

By T. Ray Rachels

If you want fulfillment, you must take the first step and then follow that first step with many other steps until the pattern you’re looking for emerges.

My friend, Joe Livesay, asked me a few months ago: "Ray, what do you want to be doing 10 years from now?"

We talked about his question for a while, then Joe added, "Well, whatever you want to be doing then, you’d better start on it today."

Joe is in his 60s, has had recent cancer surgery, and his own mortality has become far more intimate to his concerns. Most people don’t worry about a long-term tomorrow. Today has enough troubles of its own. But the "What will you be doing tomorrow?" question is critical to think through today.

Matt Nelson is dean of students at Northwest College. As a teenager in our Long Beach congregation, Matt outlined his dreams for the future in 10-and 20-year segments. He has finished his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California and is fulfilling one of his dreams in an Assemblies of God college. I thought back then that 10 years was a long look for a teenager, and it would be easy for him to forget or get sidetracked; but he didn’t, he hasn’t, and it has been more than 10 years since he shared his dream with me.

I’ve been giving more thought to: "What will you be doing tomorrow?" Although "tomorrow will take thought of itself" in ways none of us can foresee, the intentional and prayerful laying out what we want as we dream is an assignment that needs careful attention.

Like Joe, I want to start today. Grenville Kleiser said that there are "many fine things that you mean to do someday, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, so this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to forgive the fault of a thoughtless friend, to sacrifice a little more for others.

"Today is the day to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing that you have long postponed. Today you can make your life significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with as you will."

I saw a magazine article recently with an advertisement from United Technologies Corporation. It said, "If you’re putting off something you’ve been meaning to do, what are you waiting for?" Always wanted to play the banjo? Start taking lessons. Dreamed about visiting the Greek islands? Call a travel agent. Hate your bathroom wallpaper? Scrape it off and paint. Feel better when you exercise? Start jogging. Love the taste of home-grown tomatoes? Next year, plant your own. Are you angry about potholes in your street? Go to your town meetings.

Whatever you’ve been putting off, do it now. Tomorrow may be too late.

Our role as leaders in the Lord’s church must have both today and tomorrow perspectives. Tomorrow will come to you with impoverishment unless you begin planning for it today. You want to be a better preacher? Spend more time with the Scriptures, study, and read as you prepare your sermons. You want better board meetings? Plan ahead for each agenda item and honor the thoughts and ideas of members by respecting their hesitations, feelings, and ideas. You want a clean church building and grounds? Call for a workday and be there, too. Organize volunteers if you cannot afford to hire a janitor. You want a healthy congregation? Learn ways you can be a healthier person. People copy what they see. Do you feel isolated and lonely, nobody to share your troubles? Form an accountability group of people you trust and meet each week. You want your wife and kids to love and respect you? Love and respect your wife and kids.

The list is endless, and the results are connected to the principle Jesus taught–you reap what you sow.

If you want fulfillment, you must take the first step, and then follow that first step with many other steps until the pattern you’re looking for emerges. You may think, But what if it doesn’t work out like I plan? Then you will find yourself an even more faithful disciple of our Lord, who sows the right seed and leaves the results in God’s hand. Then you will know that the fruit from the seed you’ve sown, if not for you, is for another. Either way, you win.


T. Ray Rachels, Irvine, California, is superintendent of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God.

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