Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Making Plans (Pt 1)

1 Corinthians 16:5-9
[5] I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, [6] and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. [7] For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. [8] But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, [9] for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
There are three principles in the above verses regarding planning. The first is to hold plans loosely. In 1 Corinthians 16:5-7 the Apostle Paul wrote, “I intend to pass through Macedonia, and perhaps I will stay with you.” Paul understood Jesus’s principle, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mt 6:34). James put it this way,
[13] 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”— [14] 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. [15] Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” [16] As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil (Jas 4:13-.16)

When plans don’t work out as I expect I get frustrated. Particularly when I was young husband and father I would plan a trip, but it would take longer to get to our destination because kids always take longer at a rest stop than expected, someone (usually me) would get sick, or some other unexpected event would occur. I would make plans to pay off a debt only to have a crisis wreck my plans. I would save and purchase the perfect car, motorcycle, accessory, or toy only to have it get scratched. These things frustrated me and usually made me angry. I had not learned to hold my plans loosely. As I have aged, and hopefully matured, I have begun to learn to hold my plans more loosely. I have learned to say, “That’s plan. We’ll see what happens.”

Life has a way of messing with plans. God has a way of redirecting plans. In Acts 16, Paul had made plans to spend time preaching in Phrygia and Galatia, but God had other plans. “The Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:7). God called Paul to Macedonia, which resulted in his trip to Corinth, which established the church in Corinth. God’s plans are better than our plans, but to hear him, we need to hold our plans loosely. That brings me to the second principle of planning: Listen to the Lord. I will address the last two principles in a future blog. For now, let us learn to hold our plans loosely. Only God knows the future.

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