As Dwight D. Eisenhower once famously said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
This is another way of saying that our plans need to have a certain adaptability to them in order to be worth much.
What more could be said is that the process of planning cannot be skipped over for the familiarity it lends to us as battles unfold. The enemy makes their move. The fog of war is lifted. Many factors which had to remain speculative guess-work days or weeks prior now begin to show themselves.
I used to think plans and planning alike were unspiritual. When James writes in the New Testament about the arrogance of boasting about our intentions, for instance, I had a youthful tendency to go too far and yet not far enough all at the same time. As I reasoned, I couldn’t boast about plans I didn’t make. The most godly thing is to just not plan anything, and trust the good Lord.
The passage of years, plus the clarification which should accompany years and experience, in conjunction with further study and reflection, has taught me that planning is still a noble and virtuous thing to do even if some brag about their plans. The critical distinction is what our plans are. What do we hope to accomplish? And why do we want to accomplish those things, and to what end?
If our goal is a life of fame and luxury, self-indulgent and only wanting glory for ourselves here and now and at any cost, then our plans and planning will have an untoward character. And we actually should hope that both alike fail, and sooner rather than later, because they won’t ultimately lead to a good end.
However, if our goal is a life of decency and honor borne of love for God and one another, such does not happen accidentally. Rather, we have to plan and purpose to be virtuous, decent, honest, hard-working, and prepared to provide what is required of us for those we love.
As a husband and father, for instance, that means I actually should make plans regarding my career and future ability to make ends meet – putting a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food in our mouths, and other good things in our hands – to the extent that such things do not usually just appear by miracle, but rather require hard work and intentionality.
To the end of clarifying what God’s Word says about plans and planning, then, it seemed good to me to delve into what Psalms and Proverbs in particular have to say, and to do a little bit of concordance work with the original Hebrew words translated into our English along these lines.
Or at least I should say that was my plan and purpose. Along the way, I may also have delved into how to think about seeking advice and counsel, plus some analogies from a decade now of working in the oil and gas industry. More besides the narrower scope originally intended came up as I went. And hopefully all of the above is helpful to you and me both.
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