The single, most common concern that cuts across all generational lines is concern for the future. Those who are adolescents plus every adult age group have a common concern for the future. The focus of their concern will differ. The specific areas of concern will differ. But concern for the future is common to every age group.

When you think about "surviving your future," what do you consider? What naturally comes to your thoughts when you think about you surviving your future?

  1. The obvious question to ask is, "What area of the future are we considering?"
    1. Let me use a couple of simple illustrations.
      1. If a person is financially secure, regardless of his or her age, he or she is not likely to be concerned about caring for basic physical needs in the future.
      2. If a person is not able to care for all of his or her basic physical needs right now, he or she likely has a major concern about caring for those needs in the future.
      3. If a person has excellent physical health and comes from a family that, for three generations, has lived active lives to at least 90 years of age, likely he or she is not concerned about physical survival.
      4. If a person has had a history of poor health and comes from a family which, for three generations, has had several early deaths because of cancer, he or she likely does have some concerns about physical survival.
    2. The question, "What future are we considering?" is a good question.
      1. Are we considering surviving the future in terms of time?
      2. Are we considering surviving the future in terms of economics?
        1. Are we talking about surviving the cost of the college education of our children?
        2. Are we talking about surviving the purchase of a home?
        3. Are we talking about having a retirement that will allow us to survive?
        4. Are we talking about financially survival right now?
      3. Are we considering surviving relationships?
        1. Are we talking about surviving in our marriage?
        2. Are we taking about surviving in our family as a parent?
        3. Are we talking about surviving in our family as a child?
        4. Are we talking about surviving a friendship association?
        5. Are we talking about surviving a business partnership?
        6. Are we talking about surviving career relationships?
      4. There are significant groups of people who powerfully relate to surviving in any one of those areas.

  2. Given the nature of our materialistic society, given the enormous financial stress created by the American life style, it is likely that the largest, single concern that we share about the future is financial survival.
    1. I think it is likely that the greater majority of us would say that the single, most important key to surviving the future is economic security.
      1. I really don't like to say this, but the distinct impression that I have from many sources is that we think that economic survival is the essential survival.
      2. If we deal with reality and the future, the greater majority are convinced that:
        1. Money is more important than being a good spouse; in fact, the key to survival in marriage is money.
        2. Money is more important than parenting; in fact, the key to being a good parent is money.
        3. Money is more important than friendships; in fact, the key to having good friendships is money.
        4. Money is more important than the actual business partnership; in fact, there will be no partnership troubles if there is good money.
        5. Money is the key to surviving career relationships; if the money is right, you can survive anything the career throws at you.
    2. I want to read a statement that Jesus made and then make some observations.
      Matthew 6:19-34 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (The New American Standard Bible, 1995 Update, La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation, 1996.)
    3. Observations:
      1. Jesus said that the key to surviving the future is not economics, is not a matter of money.
      2. Jesus said that the key to surviving the future is your heart.
      3. Placing your priority on economics will destroy your heart.
        1. It will deceive you by making you think that you "are seeing" when you are actually filling your life with darkness.
        2. It will take control of your life out of God's hands.
        3. When that happens, anxiety will become your dictator.
      4. Jesus said that life involves considerations that are much more essential than caring for your physical needs.
        1. God Himself is superior to physical necessities.
        2. The God who physically created you and spiritually recreated you in Christ is your future.
        3. Godless people are controlled by the anxiety produced by physical need.
        4. Since God is our creator physically and spiritually, since God is our future, faith (trusting God) gives us this understanding: we must not allow physical need to produce godless anxiety.
        5. Worry and anxiety solve nothing.
        6. Trusting God gives our lives a successful future.

  3. What is absolutely essential to surviving the future?
    1. Monday, I received an e-mail from a friend who was the avenue for God's enormous blessing at a very critical moment in my life.
      1. Her name was Suzanne Spurrier; she was the library director at Harding University.
      2. About four years ago I spent a three-month writing sabbatical at Harding.
        1. I was exhausted, burned out, emotionally spent, and really beginning to think that my usefulness as a preacher was fast coming to an end.
        2. She quickly became a friend who provided personal encouragement and created an excellent writing situation for me in the library.
      3. About two years ago Suzanne discovered she had cancer.
        1. She began a faith filled, courageous war against her cancer.
        2. She extended her life even further in reaching out to others.
        3. She called on her many, many friends to pray with her for healing as she struggled against this disease.
    2. This week she sent this e-mail to her many friends. I want to share it with you.

      Dear Christian friends who mean so much,

      Just as you supported me in prayer for my healing, I think the time has come to urge the Father in my behalf to take me home to heaven. My strength is worn. Today is my physical birthday and my spiritual birthday (I was baptized on my 11th birthday.) Wouldn't it be a great day for my heavenly birthday? I'm waiting to go and be with the Lord and those that are already waiting.

      You'll never know how grateful I have been for all your prayers and compassion. We still serve the all powerful, omniscient God.

      Best wishes for your happiness and peace. May God bless you always.

      My love in Him,


    3. Suzanne died Wednesday.
    4. I ask you again, what is absolutely essential to surviving your future?
      1. To survive the future, I must survive my past.
      2. To survive the future, I must survive my present.
      3. To survive the future, I must survive my death.

To survive my future I must have a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And I must trust that relationship. Why? Because it is only God through Christ that can enable me to survive my death. And physical death ultimately is my future.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 27 December 1998

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