Excerpt taken from The Effective Edge by Gregory Alan Tidwell.
With the start of the New Year and the setting of goals and resolutions, this excerpt seemed very appropriate and timely.
“The need for a holistic understanding shows through in our approach to planning. Some passages of Scripture, in isolation, make it sound evil and arrogant to plan. Consider, for example, the words of Christ in Matthew 6: 25-34: (Space did not permit typing out the passage.)
Taken alone, this admonition seems to discourage planning. Jesus, however, also said: Luke 14: 28-30 (Space did not permit typing out the passage.)
By itself, this warning elevates planning to the status of an imperative. Failing to plan, we compromise our effectiveness and fall into foolish ruin. However, God’s truth is neither found in obsessive and arrogant planning nor in an irresponsible disregard for the future. God’s truth shines through in Scripture’s encouragement of humble stewardship.
James 4:13-17 presents this balanced approach – that of maintaining humility while planning for the future:
Come now you who would 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. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
Recognizing God’s ultimate role in guiding our lives, we are still responsible for taking action. Avoiding both arrogance and apathy, James encouraged us to decisive action tempered by humility. This same outlook is found in the quote attributed to 16th – century Spanish priest Ignatius Loyola: ‘Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you.’”
The author continues with a discussion of prayer and planning and how they go hand in hand. He argues that when you practice these things, you become more effective in your service to the Lord and find more opportunities to serve.