Initiative Run Wild… Learning From Babel

Our culture honors and awards entrepreneurs! Probably you’ve heard someone say, “I tell you what I’m going to do…!” and then identify a “glorious plan” they intend to fulfill in the future.

The tragedy is, often the element of God’s will and direction are missing from many of those conversations! It’s often only about “my will” – “my dreams” – “my effort and initiative!”

This morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read an account in Scripture that highlights an early attempt at “doing something big” without taking God into account… It’s the story in Genesis of “the Tower of Babel” (Genesis 11:1-9)

These verses reveal the independent human response to God’s command in Genesis 9: 7 following the flood when God said, “Be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it!”

The human inclination was to “build” and “make a name for ourselves!” The entrepreneurial impulse – the expression of human initiative – can run counter to God’s direction and often issues from pride. At Babel It was motivated by mere human reasoning… “lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

We must beware when human initiative and aspiration are self-focused rather than an obedient response to God’s will!

In James 4:13-15 the sad results of this attitude are directly addressed!

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. INSTEAD YOU OUGHT TO SAY, “IF THE LORD WILLS, WE WILL LIVE AND DO THIS OR THAT.”

Initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit are to be valued! But to use the imagery of my ranch background, the “wild horse” of an entrepreneurial impulse must learn to “take the bridle” of God’s will or its is dangerous! I’ve got to remember God can mess up my best laid plans if they ignore His will and purposes! I’ve got to remember what happened at Babel!

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