Tentative Planning

calendar planning

There is nothing wrong with making plans for tomorrow, we just need to know that all of our plans are tentative plans.  God has given us the brain capacity to think and plan, but we must do this with the realization that things may not go the way we think.  The reason is we don’t actually have any control over tomorrow.  We often live with the illusion that we can control things, but we can’t because we are not God.  When it comes down to it, we can’t control the beating of our heart or our daily breaths; things that are vital for life.  It is arrogant boasting for us to go about each day making our plans and following our agendas, without realizing our absolute dependence on God for our next breath.

The remedy for arrogant planning is to pray before we plan and during our planning.  When we do this, we are committing our plans to God and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us in the midst of the planning process.  We should also make it a habit to pray as we walk out our plans, allowing the Holy Spirit to redirect and make adjustments.  Proverbs 27:1 says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Sometimes we want God to give us a 3-5 year strategic plan for our life, but Jesus only says two words; follow me.  Last year I put on paper some 5-year and 10-year personal goals, but when I talk about them, I always preface it with “if God allows me good health or if God wills . . .”  Planning is good and even wise, as long as we do it with humility.  We must see all of our planning as tentative.  There is a place of moderation in between the two extremes of no planning at all and too much planning.  The first extreme leads to a fatalistic perspective of inaction or laziness, the other focuses too much on our agenda, leaving out any thought of God’s plan for us.

I’ve recently added a phrase to my morning tradition of sitting on the edge of the bed and lifting my hands in surrender and consecration to God in prayer.  I now say the words, “I don’t know what all is going to happen today, so please hold my hand and guide me throughout the day.”  I have always liked the Bill Gaither song, “Because He lives.”  My favorite line says, “I don’t know about tomorrow—but I know who holds my hand.”  God is the only one who knows tomorrow and holds tomorrow, so let’s plan with that in mind.

 Reflections:  Think about how you make your daily plans or your long-range plans.  Do you pray before and during making your plans?  Get into the habit of using the phrase, “If the Lord wills . . . before expressing future plans.

  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 a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes

 James 4:13-14


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