Futile Confidence

This morning I was determined to pray when I arrived at my office. I’m ‘only’ a part-time pastor and have a full-time job as CEO of a start-up higher education provider. Both roles are demanding and leave almost no spare time. As someone who believes strongly in the power of prayer I felt convicted that I had become so busy at work that I hardly prayed at all.

Upon arrival, I opened the Bible that I keep on my desk. There was Isaiah 30. This is what I read:

‘Woe to you the rebellious children’, says the LORD,

‘Who take counsel, but not of Me,

And who devise plans, but not of my Spirit,

That they may add sin to sin;

Who walk down to Egypt,

And have not asked My advice,

To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh,

And to trust in the shadow of Egypt’ (Is 30:1-5)

I was suddenly hit by the thought, ‘I’m a bit like those advisers of Hezekiah. Their ‘sin upon sin’ was to add the sin of devising plans independently of God to the sin of injustice. My sin is perhaps not injustice, but devising plans for work and church without engaging the Holy Spirit certainly is.’ My confidence in strategising and planning without inviting the counsel of the Holy Spirit is my folly! No wonder I’m so tired and, at times, disappointed in the (lack of) fruit of my labour.

As I prayed I didn’t suddenly have deep insight into the way forward for either my work or church, but I did feel a lift of the pressure and a confidence the the God of the universe wants me to partner with Him as He takes my workplace and church on a journey to accomplish His ends.

May I be still and truly know that He is God (Ps 46:10). May I humble myself and ask Him for wisdom (Jm 1:5-7). May I take up His burden and His yoke (Mt 11:28-30). May I pray without ceasing (1 Th 5:17). May I no longer have futile confidence in my own capacity, but confidence in His, to bless and grow both my workplace and church.