There are two seemingly paradoxical ideas in scripture about planning.
The first, is simply that it matters! Proverbs 21:5 says that “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
In other words, if you plan and work hard, you’ll see abundance in your life. On the other hand, if you just run throughout life without a plan, you’ll meet poverty.
That seems very reasonable, doesn’t it?
But the other side of planning in scripture looks like this.
Proverbs 16:9 tells us that “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” In other words, you may have a plan in your heart to accomplish in the future. It may even be a good plan. But ultimately, God is the one who’s going to allow you to accomplish it as He establishes your steps. All of your diligence, all of your planning can fall by the wayside if it’s not also God’s plan.
And I think we’ve all experienced this; I’ve had many desires in my heart, and even some plans that simply never found an open door to walk through. Despite desire, God didn’t open a door. And while usually (at least from my perspective), those closed doors have ended up being a gift, it can be frustrating.
When you don’t get what you immediately want, even though you’ve planned for something, it can be a hard season to walk through. All of us will go through seasons where our careers aren’t what we wish they were, where our families aren’t functioning the way we had hoped, and our circumstances look very different from what we had planned.
That’s why I think the Bible encourages us to be less focused on what we’re doing, and more focused on the sort of person we’re becoming. No matter what job you’re working in, what family you’re a part of, or what circumstance you’re walking through, all of that can be used to shape you into a more compassionate, kinder, more faithful human who loves Jesus more on the other side of their circumstance than on the front end.
James 4:13-15 says it this way:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
James reminds us – we may have plans to go do a thing, but we should be focused on eternal things – namely, the One who can give us the ability to do the thing we’re after.
When you have a plan, whether it’s for your business, yourself, your family, or your circumstances, God invites us into considering eternal things.
How will this plan glorify Him? How can we engage people along the way? How can we keep our focus on Him as we execute on this idea?
So there’s the question for us today.
In all of our planning for our future; As we think about the Fall, or maybe even what we’ll do with the rest of our days, how can we participate in what God has for us? How can we consider the eternal in the midst of the temporal? How do we remind ourselves of God’s presence and our very great need for Him, as we go about making plans for the future?
4901 N. Main Street | Fort Worth, TX 76179