Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What Gerald Ford Teaches Us in the New Year

A New Years' Scripture text and a lesson from the late President Gerald Ford have a lot to tell us about being ready for 2007.

The Scripture--Luke 2:21-40--is often read on the first Sunday after Christmas. About 40 days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph take the 6 1/2 mile journey to Jerusalem and dedicate their child at the Temple.

In that story, we discover three things about the future--and what awaits us in the New Year.

First, some of our dreams eventually come true. Long ago, God told Simeon that he would not die until he saw with his own eyes the promised Messiah. Sure enough, the moment that Mary and Joseph show up with baby Jesus, Simeon's promise is fulfilled.

Second, some dreams get created. After Simeon marvels at baby Jesus, he tells Mary and Joseph what they have to look forward to. The child will cause people to make a decision for or against him. And the sword of heartache will pierce Mary's soul.

Third, some things come to pass that we never dream of. Anna, the elderly widow who worshipped continually at the Temple, comes upon Simeon, Jesus, and his parents and is unexpectedly blessed with a personal viewing of the Messiah.

What can you and I expect in 2007? Dreams fulfilled, dreams made, and some things we never dreamed of. How we get ready is the lesson of President Gerald Ford.

Ford came from Michigan to the House of Representatives in 1948. His greatest aspiration was to become the Speaker of the House.

But sometimes, things come your way that you never dreamed of. On August 9, 1974, after a season of scandal and disgrace, Ford became the President of the United States.

Ford didn't seek to become our nation's leader, but when the nation called, he was ready.

How? A look at what Ford was doing the week before gives us a revealing clue:
"Faced with uncertainties and conflicting reports about his status in the week preceding Richard Nixon's resignation, Ford continued his regular routine, which included a prayer meeting...He reportedly assured his three friends that if he were to become President, the meetings—which have been held at 11 a.m. every Wednesday for several months—would continue."
How do we get ready for tomorrow? The lesson of Gerald Ford is this: Walk with God today.

Read what Ford learned from God while President in this 1977 commencement address to graduates of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

No comments: