“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15 NKJV)
If you ask any management expert, planning ahead is vital. You should know, according to them, what you’re going to do, who you’re going to do it with, and how you’re going to do it. You should have a basic idea of what the costs will be and what you can expect in return. James throws a monkey wrench into the way the world plans by reminding his readers that they don’t know what’s going to happen and how God’s going to lead in life. We should begin making plans and goals by praying and we should pray throughout the process. James also reminded his readers that as short as life may be, we should always be seeking God’s will and leadership in all that we do.
Perhaps the most important teaching James gives when discussing making plans it to preface everything we plan with the words “If the Lord wills…” I’ve seen a t-shirt in the past captioned with the phrase “This is not the life I planned for.” As they wore it, you could tell they were complaining. As I read it, I began to smile, because I had to agree that this was not the life I planned for, but I was glad because God has made such a better life for me. There’s another saying that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. I can say that if you want real joy in life, seek God’s plan and follow it.
Lord, there are so many directions life can take. Let me seek Your guidance as I plan for the future and give me the strength to follow Your leadership.