Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 19:21
“Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
All of us have plans for our future. We have short-term plans; what we will do over the weekend. Then there are middle-term plans; what will we do over the next couple of years. Then there are long-term plans; what will we do in retirement. There is nothing wrong with having plans. They are important in order to determine what will guide us to its fulfillment. However, we should not make those plans concrete, for there is always the possibility that God has something else for us.
There are many things that we may desire for our future. Some of these are obtaining wealth, or the revere of others. Maybe a long and enjoyable life. For others it may be preparing for a livelihood that we enjoy and gives us fulfillment. However, many times our plans, even as Christians may focus on our own pleasures and desires, and not on others and their needs, or even God’s desires. “Then He (Jesus) said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions. And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops? Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21. This is a bit rough, but this man’s plan in the parable did not look after others, but only for himself. And note what God called him; “You Fool.” ‘This word ‘fool’ has the meaning – properly mindless, that is, stupid, ignorant, egotistic, rash, or unbelieving: unwise.’ (From Strong’s Greek Concordance.)
Even if our plans are not selfish, they may not be what God desires. Therefore, as stated above, they should not be cast in concrete. We must always look to what He desires of us. What if we want to teach science in high school, but God desires us to go out and care for the poor? Quite different occupations, neither of which is sinful. Or, what if we plan on reaching the lost in our nearby cities, but God desires us to preach the gospel in North Korea? This is an extreme example, however, for some this could be reality. We must not ignore God’s plans for us. We as Christians must be open to any calling He has for us.
I remember the book by David Wilkerson, “The Cross and the Switchblade.” This is the story of a country Pentecostal preacher who was called by God to go to Brooklyn, NY to minister to the gangs in that area. God used an article in Life Magazine about seven teenagers who were members of a criminal gang to communicate His will to David. He was a Pastor who was content, and safe, preaching in this small church and would have been happy to stay there until he retired. But God had other plans, and I am sure they did not agree with the plans David had. However, he submitted to God and as a result, two high level gang members were saved and gave their lives over to God and preached to many still in the gangs: Nicki Cruz and Cookie Rodriguez.
Sometimes we do not know the plans God has for us. But He does. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. This verse is regarding the Jews in Babylon; however, I am confident it is applicable to us as well. He knows the end from the beginning; therefore, He knows all His plans for us. I encourage us all to, when we make plans, to be open to something different if God leads us to another calling. Remember what James said, “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.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.