There’s a wise quote that is attributed to Wayne Gretzky the hockey star. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” This insight easily translates into other areas of life.
Let me paraphrase Gretzky’s quote with a ministry twist. “A good disciple maker focuses on where the culture is. A great disciple maker focuses on where the culture is going to be.” Christian leaders need to be futurists who wisely anticipate what is needed in spite of the crazy speed of change that is sweeping us along.
Could it be that the gift of prophecy is the Spirit of God’s way of preparing us for what’s coming next?
In the book of Acts there are numerous references to how the God did this. For instance, in Acts 8, Philip the Evangelist had an angel of the Lord interrupt a revival he was leading in Samaria (8:4-8). He was told to “go south to the desert road to Gaza” and there he met the Ethiopian eunuch. The result was the beginning of the expansion of the early church into Africa! (8:26-39)
On another occasion a prophet named Agabus took Paul’s belt, tied his hands and feet with it, and said, The Holy Spirit says, in this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles” (Acts 21:10-11)
My own experience with this kind of “God directed futurism” has proven to me that God can be trusted to get us ready for what is about to happen. If we are only ready for what’s next at the moment, we are not ready for next year or the next decade’s opportunities and challenges. But, be assured God will be ready for what’s coming. If we learn to use the gift of prophecy well…we will be listening for His voice and be ready also.