Plans; November 15, 2020

2 Corinthians 1:17 When I planned this, did I do it lightly? Or do I make my plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say, “Yes, yes” and “No, no”?

Changes of plans are always awkward. This can be particularly awkward when the one announcing the plans is seen as a leader, a man of God. It is in a way comforting that even Paul was confronted with this problem. Those who were disappointed, emotionally hurt by the change, accused him of being flighty and unreliable, and that stung. It’s also comforting to know that even Paul wasn’t impervious to such criticism! In other places he fully acknowledges his weakness and imperfection, but here he shifts the focus to God, essentially pointing out that it doesn’t matter how we change, or even fail, because God is totally faithful. We are indeed to plan, and do so carefully and prayerfully, but we must always be open to changes in those plans. Sometimes it is the planning process itself that God wants of us, along with the willingness to let Him be Lord and change those plans. However, we must never use that as an excuse for changing plans casually. We do need to recognize that our plans never affect only us; other people are involved. It is often in our interactions with those other people that God works most deeply, and we need to be aware of that.

I don’t have a very good track record in the area of planning. I tend to take things as they come, and my failure to plan has been a real weakness. However, I do seek God’s will in the plans I make, whether others recognize that or not. A major problem has been in failing to include others in the planning process, so that those involved fail to own the plan and participate. A major example was in our plans just a few years ago to build a senior care center on the land next to the church building. Bureaucratic red tape was the biggest specific obstacle, but God could have worked His miracles there, I think, if I had talked more with the church members from the beginning and brought them along with me. God did show Himself mighty in all of that, providing a line of credit that I certainly hadn’t anticipated, but the church members weren’t brought along so that they would have the faith to believe that the whole project was possible. It was painful to me and painful to them, and people left the church as a result. I must not let the experience keep me from planning big things, but rather teach me to bring others along with me in the process. In the final analysis, the people are more important than the plans.

Father, thank You for this somewhat painful reminder. Help me keep growing as You desire and intend, so that Your plans, for me, for this church, for this city and nation, may be fulfilled on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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