Lesson #1 All plans are tentative

I planned to write a weekly blog for all of 2020, but when March came my world was thrown upside down, just like everyone else’s in the world.  As we begin 2021, I am ready to try writing weekly blogs again, but with the short phrase added to my thinking, “Mungu akitaka!”

While serving as a missionary in the DR Congo back in the 1980’s, I remember hearing this Swahili phrase over and over again in conversations with Congolese people.  It simply means, “if God wills.” 

It has been said that hindsight is 20-20.  For the next several weeks I am going to try and look back at the year 2020 and recount some of the lessons I feel like God has been teaching me.  It is so easy to get into the mindset of assuming the things we plan are actually going to happen just the way we planned.  There are cautions about planning in the Old Testament book of Proverbs.

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:1)

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9)

In the New Testament, James tells us that planning without saying/thinking “if the Lord wills” is a form of arrogance (James 4:16).  I laughed out loud when I heard someone say that nobody got the answer right in 2015 to the question, “What do you see yourself doing in five years?”

I am still making plans for 2021, but with a much more humble perspective.  I want to say “Mungu akitaka” along with every plan I make.

Reflections:  Do you always assume your plans will happen the way you made them?  What can you do to make your plans more tentative in your thinking?  Try to adopt the phrase “if the Lord wills” and use it whenever you make a plan?

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.  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


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