BRIAN DODD tells the story of being at dinner one night and ordering pizza with his family from their favorite pizza place. He said they love this particular restaurant because the pizza literally comes out of the oven and is placed on your table right then. It’s very juicy, still sizzling, and VERY hot!
Anyone who eats hot pizza knows how stringy the cheese can get. So, as Brian took a bite of pizza, the stringy cheese pulled a piece of pepperoni along with it and it landed flush on his chin. Brian said, “Think of it as a steaming hot, pepperoni patch!”
He then turned to his wife and said the five words no one wants to hear: “I didn’t see that coming.”
Proverbs 27:23 says, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”
What does that mean? In simple terms: know whatcha’ got, whatcha’ need and whatcha’ need to be doing and don’t take any of it for granted. One more thing, nothing lasts forever.
MUHAMMAD ALI said: “It’s not the hardest punch that knocks you out. It’s the one you never see coming.”
What knocks us out are those things we never see coming.
Like the worst snowstorm we’ve seen in 70 years.
Truth is none of us can ever completely eliminate the possibility of being blindsided. The key is not being constantly blindsided. Some people always seem to be surprised by routine things. “Oh, it’s tax time. I need to get my taxes done.” Or, “I’m not ready for Christmas. How did it get here so fast?”
Since we can’t avoid them, how can we be ready for the next blindside?
1. Know the condition of your flocks (Proverbs 27:23).
I think we’ve already covered that one.
2. Know the condition of your own heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." In other words:
“Watch,” “Guard,” “Protect,” “Be careful,” with your own heart.
JESUS said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
Have you become critical and negative? Cynical? Pessimistic? Are you constantly finding fault with everything and everyone? If so, it’s probably an indicator of a heart problem.
3. Do what you’re supposed to do, first. Then, do what you want to do.
Here’s a verse I wish they had on the wall of all government officials … Proverbs 24:27, “Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready: after that, build your house.” (NIV) In other words, do what you need to do and then you can do what you want to do.
It’s an unalterable law of life — if we will do what we’re supposed to do first, every morning, every day, we’ll be better prepared for anything that comes.
There are some things every one of us, including our government officials, should be doing right now to be better prepared for the next storm that comes, even if it waits another 70 years to get here.
“Truth is none of us can ever completely eliminate the possibility of being blindsided. The key is not being constantly blindsided.”
4. Take care of yourself.
This is the one where people think they can cheat or ignore it and nothing bad will happen. However, this may be the most important of all because if we don’t take care of ourselves spiritually, physically, financially, and emotionally, it’s only a matter of time until we have major problems.
We need to pay attention to our gauges. Just like we should have enough milk, eggs, water, toilet paper and firewood, etc., we need to pay attention to other important items as well.
Every one of us can and should have a quiet time every day. Every one of us can and should get some exercise every day. If we don’t exercise regularly the day will come when we can no longer exercise regularly. Every one of us can and should manage our money in a way that honors God. Keep our commitments. Pay our bills. Reduce and eventually eliminate our debts. Develop an emergency fund. Have a savings account and contribute to it regularly. Give generously to God first. If we do that, we’ll always have more than enough (2 Corinthians 9:11).
5. Prepare for stormy days.
Have a plan in place: “Here’s what I’ll do if this happens.” Obviously, you and I don’t have a lot to do with whether or not the electricity goes off. But those who do should get a plan in place so it doesn’t ever happen again like it did this past week. You and I should get a plan together for what we can do when others don’t do what they should do.
Christian financial expert, Larry Burkett used to say we all need to prepare for “rainy days.” When people asked him why, he’d reply, “Because it’s going to rain.” Pretty simple. Pretty profound.
6. Keep things in perspective
When life knocks us down, remember: getting knocked down is not failure. Staying down is. The trials of life are temporary. Snow storms don’t last forever, especially here in Texas. They come, but won’t stay. (Can I get an “AMEN”?)
There will always be things that come our way in life that no one saw coming. But we can be prepared when they do. The question is …
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.