Today (April 8, 2014) I turn 23. Just five years ago I came to college as a nervous freshman and now I am planning to finish my Masters degree program. As I look down the road I have to admit a sense of trepidation about what the future holds. I have often been asked whether we, as Christians, should plan for the future and if we do so does it show we have a lack of faith? The wisest man who ever lived (Solomon) answered that compelling question this way.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
The phrase "plans of the diligent" in this verse could be translated as thoughts, intentions, or purpose. We could translate the verse this way: "The thoughts, intentions, plans, purposes of the diligent lead to plenty." So to answer the question should we plan for the future I would answer that not only should we plan for the future but we should actually put a great deal of thought into it. Planning for the future is not only a good business practice it's actually a Biblical practice. It actually demonstrates a faith in God as you plan to do what he has directed you to do within his moral will.
James addresses the topic of planning for the future this way.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.”Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
Why should we take our plans for the future to God? Because God knows what is best for our lives. If there is one thing that I have learned this year its that we don't know what the future holds. This summer I was working in the ministry right next to my brother and now I am preparing for the ministry as my brother worships Jesus in Heaven. This was not part of my plan. It certainly wasn't the way I thought this year would play out but God had other plans for my life. He was molding me and shaping me to become more like His Son.
Think about the words of Psalm 37. This was a passage that I had memorizes as a child but its truths never really sunk in for me until the last few months. "Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgement as the noonday." This teaches me that I must give my life and my future to the Lord. Last year I thought I would have an older brother for the rest of my life; this year God has changed that future.
I have to repeatedly remind myself of the truths found in Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he shall . . . what? . . . direct your paths." I thought I had it all planned out when I came to college 5 years ago. I figured I would prepare for ministry in the classroom and outside of it and then God would open the door for me to go into ministry once I graduated. My plans didn't have any big wrinkles in them and certainly did not foresee any kind of massive turmoil down the road. But God had other plans for me. He wanted to teach me something that could only be taught through trial. I can't say that I know everything that God is trying to teach me but I can say that I'm striving to learn one big thing this year. Throughout the events of the last few months there has been one big theme God is trying to teach me and that is that Jesus is enough. He is enough for me both now and down the road. I can't tell you that I always live that out in my life but I will strive to prayerfully focus on my future with Jesus as the center target.
Posted by Caleb