Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Wisdom and Folly in Planning

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

The Bible encourages planning as wise living and that’s a good thing since we seem plan all the time.  We plan our projects, we prepare for vacations, we strategize our next career moves, we make plans for the weekend.   You could say that it’s impossible to live responsibly without planning and preparation.

However, the Bible also issues warnings related to planning as well.

“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 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.”   As it is, you boast in your arrogance.   All such boasting is evil.
James 4:13-16

James warns us of a certain folly in our plans.   A very real problem with our planning is that it can too easily drift into godless presumption.  This is easier to do that you might imagine since the very essence of planning is to identify work items, assign resources, set schedules and mitigate risks - all of which can be done without God in view.  

We can plan without praying.   We can prepare without trusting in God.   We can strategize without taking God’s sovereign hand into account.  This kind of planning is not commendable no matter how well executed.   Instead, God calls this type of planning - arrogant and evil. 

God calls us to a different kind of planning - dependent planning.   We are to hold onto plans that are malleable before God.  God-centered plans may be well thought through but are always subject to and dependent on God’s providential will,   Godly planners know well their need for God and plan accordingly.  They understand that success rests not in their plans but in God Himself. 

May we strive to be such godly planners.