Be Schemers!

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
— Matthew 10:16

This last Sunday, I applied a text from Genesis 46:28-34 in this manner: be schemers for God’s glory. I made the point that God sometimes preserves his people or expands his presence through the “schemes” of godly men and women. Joseph essentially planned the exact conversation his family and Pharaoh would have (and you can see it in Gen. 47!). Judah scouts out the land that would work best for them (Gen. 46: 28). The reality stands in this Bible passage (and others) that as we work for God’s glory, he preserves his people (and is glorified). What’s more, Joseph used his connections, who he knows, and the power and respect he had been given in this plan of preservation. He schemed for God’s glory! This concept of using what you have (power, who you know, and so on) has been on my mind since then, and I would like to share a bit more about it.

Be humble. God has given all of us unique assets to scheme with. The assets might be money (or even lack thereof), power (or lack thereof), ability to gain an audience with a certain crowd because of that money and power (or lack thereof), or some other combination of factors. The point is that God has given us these unique assets. Have you ever considered what you have in this manner? Isn’t it interesting that the lack of money and power would give you audience to a certain set of people who wouldn’t listen to you otherwise? Likewise, the same could be said for having money and power. Speaking of power, that concept depends on who you’re with, right? Because of this, did you know that some of your kids are more powerful than you ever could be? They’re seemingly useless prowess at video games or insanely huge knowledge of some singer songwriter gives them power in a social sphere that you will never have. The question then becomes utilization. What are we doing with these assets that God has given us? And it is this reality—that God gives us our unique assets—that should always be kept at the forefront of our minds. Recognizing that God is working in us and for us—giving us what we have—should humble us, and as we draw away from the dangerous sin of pride, we can begin to scheme not for ourselves but for God. I can guarantee that you have an “in” with a certain group of people (work, friends, and so on) that I couldn’t come within a mile of as a banjo playing, fiction loving, husband, father, and minister. Be humble and scheme for God with the unique assets he has given you.

Be aware. God provides opportunities for godly scheming all the time. It only takes a few attempts of God-glorifying scheming to realize there are so many more opportunities to be had. I mentioned off the cuff in the sermon that I scheme for Centennial all the time. Here’s an example. It is no secret that I sought out a position on the board of the downtown YMCA. I wanted a Bible believing downtown minister from a Bible believing church to begin to have a presence in the downtown Columbia community. As I continued to pray to God for this end, I began to actively look for ways to do this. It did not take long for the opportunity to arise. It turns out that my next-door neighbor was the chair of the downtown YMCA board. My scheme for God’s glory was fulfilled as I now serve in this capacity. Here’s the question, what opportunities has God provided for you? How might you begin to scheme for God’s glory?

The bottom line is that God preserves and provides for his people. Jesus has sent us out into the world to proclaim the Gospel—the Good News that Jesus saves his people. Scheme in this manner, and do not be surprised when God is mightily glorified in the endeavor.   Blessings,