Forum Summary: Do you think long-term?

Author: Ryan Price | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2021-22

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

For his forum, Mr. Michael Heykoop, a telecast presenter and the Media Director for the Work in Canada, provided four points for long-term thinking.

He explained that while we ought to take notice of world events, we don’t have the exact date for when Christ will return, so we need to take the long-term approach in planning for our lives. While there’s no way we can physically prepare for the things to come, prophecy is provided so that we can be spiritually ready.

1: Planning ahead does not show a lack of faith.

Sometimes, people take Christ’s words in Matthew 6:25-26 to mean that they should not plan ahead and instead take each day on faith. However, Mr. Heykoop explained that Christ isn’t saying to never make any plans, but to make sure that our planning doesn’t come between us and God. As James 4:13-15 tells us, we must plan with humility, recognizing that while we plan, it is according to God’s will that our plans come to fruition. Mr. Heykoop used the story of Joseph’s preparation for the famine in Egypt as an example of planning being rewarded.

2: God’s promises do not allow for unnecessary risk.

There is a misconception that if God is protecting us, we can take any risks we want to. However, Mr. Heykoop showed the students through Matthew 4:5-7 that we are not to tempt God. He explained that we must be mindful and determine whether we are taking undue risks in our endeavors. Our body is the temple of God’s Spirit, so we must be vigilant in protecting it.

3: Mistakes of youth can cause lasting harm.

While we are forgiven of our sins, we may still have to suffer their consequences. Mr. Heykoop encouraged the students to picture where we want to be in ten years and to identify roadblocks that would keep us from getting there. We must ask ourselves whether we are making our decisions with God in mind. What could take us from His truth? Mr. Heykoop stressed that we must recognize and weed those things out of our lives. Mr. Heykoop illustrated this point with the example of Jacob. One lie separated him from his family for more than twenty years—God had promised to bless him, but he still took matters into his own hands and deceived his father. Whether good or bad, our actions have consequences that can last a lifetime.

4: The effect of good decisions made over time is extraordinary.

Mr. Heykoop used the principle of compound interest to illustrate this point. When you invest in developing good habits and making good decisions, the return compounds over time. For instance, if you were to make the decision to study for thirty minutes a day over a period of five years, you would have studied a total of 912 hours. Imagine all the things you could learn in that time—and that’s just five years! Mr. Heykoop encouraged the students to take advantage of the unique opportunity we have to start building these habits early as we begin our adult lives.

Mr. Heykoop stressed that we need to bring God into our plans and seek His help and guidance in setting them, eliminating undue risks, avoiding sin, and setting up good habits. God will make it clear when the end is near, but until then, it’s our responsibility to move forward and plan. However, in our planning, we must always remember that it is only according to God’s will that our plans succeed.