Reflection: Proverbs 16:9
Before we begin the New Year, Psalm 100 reminds us to be thankful to God. Reflecting back through 2014 and to be aware of His faithfulness and grace on many occasions, He draws out my heart in gratefulness and worship:
Raise a shout to Yahweh, all the earth!
Serve Yahweh with gladness; come before him with joyful songs, acknowledge that Yahweh, he is God.
He made us, and we are indeed his people and the flock he shepherds, enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; give thanks to him, and bless his name!
For Yahweh is good; his loyal-love is forever, and to generation after generation is his faithfulness.
Planning for 2015 brings us refreshing possibilities in our continuing journey with the Lord. The New Year inevitably comes round, whether it will be any different from 2014, may require us to draw close to Him and attempt to view 2015 through His eyes: seeking Him with all our hearts. Leaning on the Proverbs, the Apostle Paul, our Lord Himself, and God, would hopefully motivate and steer us towards constantly living before the face of God (coram Deo) in the New Year.
Planning in the Proverbs
The ant’s diligence and planning, challenges us in our duties and responsibilities (6:6-8), by focusing on where we are immediately going, and thinking about how we can prepare to accomplish God’s purposes (14:15). Goals are met, when a wise person submits his plans to the wisdom of others and listen to their advice. None are above the counsel of others; read, talk, and watch how others’ exercise their wisdom, and learn from them (15:22). Commit our plans to God by seeking His guidance and trusting in His wisdom, and we will bear lasting fruit (16:3).
The Apostle Paul’s Plan
Paul, possibly one of the greatest church planters in history, planned his outreach to the west carefully: he would bring a gift to the Jerusalem church, then travel to Rome, and thence to Spain, in order to plant churches where no one had preached before (Rom 15:20-28). We know from hindsight that his plans stopped short at Rome, where he was arrested and imprisoned; and he never reached Spain. The future belongs to God (Prov 16:9), but it did not stop Paul from planning his long evangelistic trip. Nevertheless, He used his incarceration in Rome to reach deep within the Roman establishment and the prison system (Phil 1:13). Although God has the final say, it is critical that we purposefully plan for Christian living and ministry.
The Planning of Jesus Christ
Jesus came to fulfill a mission, and His life was guided by what He sees His Father doing, with impeccable timing (Jn 2:4; 5:19; 12:49-50). Even His last days in Jerusalem were planned, down to the smallest detail, for no one can take His life away from Him outside the plan of God (Jn 10:18).
It goes without saying that it would be impossible for us to ever conceive that God makes no plans; in fact, He said that He would accomplish all His purpose (Isa 46:9-10). His eternal plan spans from creation to the salvation and reconciliation of man to Himself (Acts 2:23). It does not end there, nor has He kept all His plans to Himself in the final summing up of all things in Christ (Eph 1:9-10). He illustrates to us how we should give careful thought to and plan for the most important things in our life.
Planning For 2015
If we do not plan carefully and prayerfully each week, then most likely the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ will crowd out our time in due course. Planning for the most important issues in our life would include how we can spend time with our spouse, to deepen and strengthen our relationship; how can we expend quality time with our kids too, in play and in teaching them holistically; how to stay healthy in our diet, exercise, and reclaiming our rest and vacation time; how we can responsibly contribute at our workplace and rein in excessive overtime; how to move through the major transitions in life learning the lessons He has for us graciously; and perhaps, most critically, planning our study of God’s Word, with periods of prayer and worship, and our commitment and participation in the local Body of Christ (Phil 2:12-13).