One of the easiest things to do as a Christian is to make big plans to do something for God, but to forget about God in the planning process. We pray about the details, we pray for success in the endeavor, but we fail to pray as to whether or not God wants us to do certain things. Oh sure, in some cases we know that God wants us to act all the time. Should we share the gospel? Yes. Should we show others love and compassion? Of course. Sometimes, though, God has more specific plans. Sometimes those plans are hard. If we aren’t careful, we can get so lost in our plans to do good things for God that we miss His plans for us.
I think that’s how the old saying started. “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” ‘Fess up, now. Don’t you do that too? Then, as we begin to work those plans, God provides an interruption that forces us to examine our plans, and our relationship with Him. Peter had big plans for Jesus, especially when Jesus admitted that He was, in fact, the Messiah. Then, Jesus told them that God’s plan involved the crucifixion. This wouldn’t do at all! “He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’” (Mark 8:32-33)
Peter had big plans. So did some of the other disciples. They had been with Jesus since the beginning of His ministry, and now that they knew that He was the Messiah for sure, they were planning the political revolution. They were probably jockeying for position and I’m pretty sure that Peter thought he’d be the vice-Messiah. James was going to be the Secretary of Defense and John would be Secretary of State. Judas, of course, would be Secretary of the Treasury. The plans were taking shape. The cabinet was in place and Jesus shattered the dreams when He let them know that His messiahship would not be a political overthrow of the Romans. Peter was having none of that! He rebuked Jesus and let Him know how the cow ate the cabbage. Jesus revealed an important truth: when we substitute our big plans for God’s plans, no matter how well intentioned they may be, we become tools of Satan.
I wonder how many ministries are run by man’s plans instead of God’s. I think there are some keys to understanding God’s plans. First, they involve sacrifice, especially from the leaders. God’s plans are not for self-enrichment, they cost us when we put them into practice. If our work for God brings us financial blessings. Then we are called to remember that all good gifts come from God, and He blesses us so that we might bless others. Peter got ahead of God when he began planning the future of Jesus’s political rule as messiah. How often do we get ahead of God when making our plans? While the message of the gospel is great for personal growth and becoming the people God wants us to be, it is not meant for personal gain at the expense of others. Later in the passage Jesus asks an important question: what good is it if you gain great personal wealth, but lose your soul? Most of us reading this have great wealth in comparison to the majority of people in this world. Rather than seeing our privileged status, we complain because we compare ourselves to those wealthier than us. Let us instead be rich in good works because of our relationship with God. Let us be rich in caring for the needs of others instead of claiming all of our wealth for our own comfort.
Lord, we are privileged here in the United States. Remind me of my privilege and help me to think of others. Let me see the needs of the world through Your eyes, and follow Your plan and not my desires.