Since the beginning of recorded time, we can see records of people marking a significant place and event with a pile of stones, lest they or others forget. They also marked the direction and distance to significant places with stones. That’s where we get the meaning of the term “milestone”.
Such physical markers necessarily indicate past events and places in societies, but we can use the same concept to discern the current trajectory and goal of our future as individuals. In other words, we can look back at any recurring “markers” in our lives to see spiritual patterns.
The Lord calls His people to “place milestones” of our past, present, and future – all for the purpose of calling on His name for help, personal thanksgiving, and public witness of praise. Consider some of the following prompts and related Scriptures.
- Why did Jacob mark a place with a stone in Genesis 28:18-22? What does this remembrance tell us about God’s plan and Jacob at the time?
- What had happened between Jacob and Laban that led them to mark the occasion and place with stone in Genesis 31:45-46? What does this remembrance tell us about each of the men at the time?
- In Genesis 35:14, we read that Jacob returned to Bethel and seems to have set up a second pillar of stone to mark the place for a specific event. Read chapters 32-35 and describe how and why the spiritual direction of Jacob’s life had changed from the first stone marker in Genesis 28.
- What are some of the general applications we can draw from Jacob’s spiritual starting point, changes in direction, and new futures for those who trust and obey the Lord?
Now consider this week’s article.
“Who was the ‘somebody’ who issued a 100-day plan for President Trump?
“Milestones” by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (25 April 2017)
In an interview on Friday, Julie Pace of the Associated Press said to President Trump, “… as a candidate, you put out a 100-day plan. Do you feel like you should be held accountable to that plan?” To which the President responded, “…somebody put out the concept of a hundred-day plan… (and) I’m mostly there on most items.” His answer only sparked more questions from the press, especially among those from the other side of the political aisle. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/04/24/who-was-the-somebody-who-issued-a-100-day-plan-for-president-trump/?utm_term=.d068a7ebc27d).
As I’ve said many times in this series, my intent is not to support or oppose specific people, their statements, or actions. But I do believe we can use the emotional momentum that those create to launch us into productive introspection for our own spiritual resilience. For this week, let’s consider the powerful dynamic of milestones: markers that indicate direction and distance to specific goals.
Like me, you probably didn’t issue a 100-day plan when you married, became a parent, or even came into a better job. Maybe you did if your job description impacted a lot of people. The average Joe or Jane just had an idea of what they wanted to accomplish, how they hoped to get there, and kept it in the back of their mind or jotted it down for personal reference later. Well…some jotted it down. Most people are quickly overcome by the daily tyranny of the urgent and rarely look back at any initial plans. When life builds momentum, Joes and Janes tend to hold on just to keep from falling off. If you’re not comfortable with that picture, you can still check your trajectory for adjustments as needed.
Try this. Whatever your age, divide it in half. Wherever you lived then, imagine yourself standing in the middle of that place and that life. Now face the direction of your past. What specific people and events do you see that pictures others’ values and/or beliefs that you were leaving? Now turn to face your future (where you live now). What pictures your values and beliefs on this trajectory? Describe any course corrections you need to make along the way for different values or beliefs and why.
Most of us would like to change some things in our lives, but we don’t slow down even to consider what those might be. Maybe you’ve heard that “past is prologue”. If we continue our past of recurring values, beliefs, and subsequent actions, we will step into more of the same. If we want a different future, we will need to make specific changes in some values, beliefs, and/or people in our path.
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