Prepare for the unexpected. It almost seems an oxymoron – how can we prepare for that which we cannot see coming, or least expect to take place? Yet more and more we are faced with levels of change and quality of change which comes way outside of the normal flow – what is known as quantum change. Who would have expected in 1999 that Labour would hold government in 2002 with a majority of over 30? Who could have foreseen the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers? The collapse of the Berlin Wall? The Soviet Empire? Radical change seems to come more regularly and with more potency than we have ever known throughout history.
There isn’t a single person or organisation which escapes the implications of this truth. Failure to adapt to this more fluid culture, and this vastly different society than a generation ago will consign one to the scrap heap. Nearly 80% of the Fortune 500 companies from the 1950s in the USA are no longer in existence. The last five years has seen the record for the largest insolvency in Australia broken on a number of occasions. The growth of the internet and cable television are just two more examples of the change going on about us.
Prepare for the unexpected. Flexibility and adaptability are two words that come to mind in response. But something much more important needs to be identified. Those organisations which are committed to change must know with a certainty what their core values are: what is most important to hold on to, and to give expression to, no matter what the culture or circumstance. Or to put it another way – what is the foundation on which we are seeking to build?
As we commence the Advent Season and reflect on the coming of God to us in Jesus Christ, we are given a clear example of this principle at work, expressed most clearly in the opening words of the writer to the Hebrews: Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being. The writer then expresses God’s longing for closer relationship with all creation – a relationship as “brothers and sisters”. Through centuries God had sought to deepen His relationship with His people Israel, seeking many and varied ways to achieve this end. This ultimately lead to the birth of Jesus, then the coming of the Holy Spirit.
May we know with assurance what is the core of God’s call to us.
December 1, 2002