Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
In this series, I’ve sketched out what I believe to be a biblical, God-honoring approach to planning. First, we saw that we are called to “Commit to the LORD whatever [we] do,” including our planning (see Proverbs 16:3). Second, we’re called to “listen to advice” from others (see Proverbs 12:15). Third, we’re commanded to recognize our ultimate lack of control over our plans (see James 4:13-16). And today’s passage shares the fourth and final principle of this series: As we plan, we’d be wise to remember that regardless of the outcome of our plans, “it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
This truth enables us to do two things.
First, it allows us to plan more confidently. The nature of planning is that it is risky. Whether you’re planning a budget,...
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)
As we’ve seen throughout this series, planning is a good, God-honoring thing to do. But today’s passage reminds us that planning without recognizing our ultimate lack of control over our plans is arrogant and “evil.”
I’ve had to repent of this sin recently. A friend of mine was asking me what I’ve been working on and I said, “I’m working on a new book that will come out in October of next year.” This is a textbook example of the evil planning James is...
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)
I’ve been the fool in this Proverb more than once. One example, in particular, comes to mind. A few years ago, I was running a rapidly growing tech startup and planning to hire our first full-time sales rep. Like any good entrepreneur, I took the time to draft a document detailing the type of person I thought we needed for the position. And with that plan in hand, I went out and hired someone we’ll call Michael who perfectly fit my description.
The only problem was that I neglected to ask my existing team what they thought about my job description. Shortly after Michael started, members of my team came to me asking why I hired someone with Michael’s experience when what we needed most was someone with an entirely different background. They were right, of course, and eventually, we had to let Michael go. If I had simply asked for input on my hiring plan on the front end, I could...
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)
You and I are always planning something at work: projects, marketing campaigns, hiring strategies, budgets, goals—the list goes on and on. God’s Word frequently extols the wisdom of planning (see Proverbs 21:5; Proverbs 24:27; Luke 14:28). But it also gives us a lot of instruction for how to plan in a God-honoring way.
Today’s passage is a great example: You and I are called to commit our work and our planning to God. To ask him to lead and guide us as we make decisions about the future.
Why is this so important? Beyond the fact that God commands it, let me share two reasons.
First, committing our planning to the Lord is wise because he knows the future and you and I don’t. As God says in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you.” Now, this was spoken specifically to the Jews living in exile, but it is also true for us. We...