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God's Plans

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established. Proverbs 19:21 NRSV

We've all probably heard this verse loosely translated as “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” (The Yiddish is “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht") But if we accept this translation, we are missing the point. The author isn't telling us not to plan but that our planning should be done in consultation with God. Earlier, the author says, "Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." (16:3)

We can liken our plans to gardening. We plant and nurture them in hopes they will bear fruit. Now, the seed can be planted with God or of our desires. Even the seed which is planted with God can become corrupted. We may begin taking all the credit, and the nourishment we give it is from our ego. Throwing humility out the door, we conveniently forget the original co-planting. But, it is only those plans which are planted and nourished by God that will flourish.

When we ignore God in the planning, things go wrong no matter how worthy our intent is. A few years ago, there was a very successful organization that helped folks in need. The program did a tremendous amount of good; however, any discussion with the founder about the organization centered around his success, with the conversation liberally sprinkled with "I and my." Sadly, after a few years, this once-thriving organization collapsed. Was it God’s will that this happened? Certainly not! However, when we make plans independent of God, we have no one to blame other than ourselves.

Sometimes, the plan may be unclear even when we seek God’s will. That’s okay. Sometimes we step out in faith, trusting we are doing the right thing. After a little while, we may, through continual prayer, discern whether we are to proceed or not. If it isn’t right, don’t worry; God has something else planned for us.

Father, we confess we have been guilty of planting and nurturing our plans without your counsel. Forgive us; we pray. Please help us with those plans currently underway. Where they glorify you and are consistent with your will, guide us so they may flourish; where they don't, grant us the courage to stop. Be with us in our new plans, helping us to yield a hundredfold bounty. Thank you for your Son Jesus, who saved us, and the Holy Spirit, which guided us. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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