As you already know, Janet and I moved to our new home almost three months ago. And the first thing that made the move from the old house to our new home was a pool table that has been in our family since before Dad died back in 1978. In fact, my youngest brother, Ken, and Dad went and purchased the table a while before Dad died and Ken, to this day, remembers playing with Dad in the final months before his death.
Now make no mistake – this wasn’t some really high end table that was the top of the line or anything. It was an average pool table, the same kind purchased by thousands of families every year across the country – back in the heyday of the sport. I remember how Dad, Ken, my other brother Doug and I would shoot pool together at Dad’s house at the end of the work day. We had some really great times. After Dad died, and Mom moved into an apartment with a basement, the table spent a number of years down there without really being played. When Mom finally passed away, back in 1998, Ken just couldn’t bear to see the table sold or given away – he really wanted it to stay in the family.
So, I agreed to take care of it for him and the table ended up being shipped down here to Carmel. We had it for a number of years in one of our homes, moved it and had it rebuilt 12 years ago when we moved to our home during my seminary years and then had it moved again this past January when we moved into our latest home. Each time, I think about selling it or moving it out to make room for something else, but the truth is, I promised Ken that I would take care of it. So here it stays…
I don’t play that often, but I do remember when I first learned the game. One of my old high school friends was quite a pool player and he showed me the basics of the game. Then, the church we attended got a pool table for the youth group and almost every day after school I would travel to the church basement and shoot pool for several hours. At one time, I got to be pretty good at the game, although I never played enough to get really good and it never came easy to me.
One of the basics of the game is the fact that for every action, there is a reaction. Energy is transferred from ball to ball and pool is quite a mathematical game. If you mis-hit something, the balls don’t go where you want them to go and you don’t get the result you were looking for. But when you do everything right you just know that the outcome is going to be everything you were hoping for.
Come to think of it, that’s how life is. When you understand human nature and order your life in such a way as to encourage people and get the best from them, it’s like that perfect shot – everything is lined up and just works. Of course, if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing, or you don’t take the time to plan what you are going to do, you probably won’t get the result you were looking for. Once again, just like that poor shot on the table. You probably had a great idea of what you wanted to do and then failed in the execution – rendering the whole thing less successful than you were hoping for.
The verse for this evening is from Prov. 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” In other words, no matter how much you plan, the big idea must be in alignment with the will of God or it won’t succeed. And we all know that God loves people who have big plans that included helping others. While the plan and the work of execution is up to you, the result of the work is up to God. That’s very important to remember. My encouragement this evening is that God wants you so study so you can make great decisions as you go through life. My prayer is that God will direct your steps and that you will practice, realizing that every time you dedicate your effort to God, in alignment with His will, you’re going to be pleased with the result – kind of like that great pool shot. God just orchestrates everything to just flow together. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…