A few years ago management guru Tom Peters was lecturing to the business community on the characteristics of the profitable companies in the new economy. Among his findings was included the idea of “just in time” inventory management. The basic principle was that, because of the advent of almost instant communication, the manufacturing matrix could produce the product a company was going to need just in time to stock the shelves for sale. It was a wondrous vision. A bar code reader in an upscale clothing store would signal the central computer, indicating that the inventory on a popular brand and size of jeans was approaching zero. The computer would automatically calculate projected sales figures for that product in the coming month and place an order with the manufacturer. The manufacturer would deliver the new stock just as the final pair of jeans was sold.
I’m not sure, but I think God may have been taking notes because that seems to be how he runs the universe. Or at least my little observable corner of it. Nothing ever seems to happen to allow for a reserve of trust – things come together at the last minute. Just in time. Apparently He is not into our storing up excess quantities of trust. We use up all we have, every day. We can’t carry trust over from one day to the next. And there is absolutely no use trying to trust today in expectation of tomorrow. The trusted for tomorrow never comes. A much more difficult one comes in its place. So we live, just in time.
What complicates this whole thing is how God tells time. It is not precisely the same as the way I do. I often get the sense that He is aware of my schedule, but chooses to override it whenever it suits Him. So just in time for Him, often feels like “late” or “not at all” to me. I am also learning that inventory management does not have the same priority to Him as it does to me. He has, for example, made far too many varieties and quantities of certain things. Bugs, for example. I am quite certain the world could get along with fewer, and fewer kinds of, bugs. God seems to think the more the merrier. He delights in the gross abundance.
And so it goes. There is often too much of what I don’t think is necessary – and not nearly enough of what I think ought be in abundance. It has gotten me to wondering if I really know what is needed. At all. Ever. Perhaps the most faith-full response is gratitude, worship, and non-anxious use of whatever comes, just in time.