Are you a planner? Are you the type of person who maps out the flow of your days weeks in advance? I tend to be a planner. I try not to be rigid about the plans I make. As a young pastor, I learned to take some things as they come, since I wasn’t going to be able to control all of the days and times my presence would be needed. I plan music to support the message on Sunday. (Does that surprise you? Those hymns you aren’t familiar with were chosen, not to frustrate you, but to reinforce the message. Oops – that’s a different subject). I work to have a number of things for church planned out for many months in advance. I appreciate when the plans I’ve made come together.
More than the plans I alone have made, I have come to appreciate the plans I’ve made which require others to have a hand in. Alone, I can put something together which is pretty good. With the inclusion of others, the “something pretty good”, can become something extraordinary.
The scary part of inviting others into our plans is having to rely on someone else to complete, or perfect, or be ready to do the things I’m relying on them to do. If the people a “planning person” is relying on does not come through, it can result in frustration, a sense of defeat, or of having let folks down – even for the ones who’ve completed their part.Many years ago, when I announced one Sunday that I would be preaching from a different passage of scripture than the one printed in the bulletin, I was almost always told by a particular parishioner how he looked forward to the Sunday’s when I made those changes. He said he felt the Spirit had led me more in those weeks. I was glad to know my late week preaching pressure was of benefit to at least one- even if it was a challenge to me.
As I write to you today, I sit in an airport waiting an extra 2.5 hours to fly back to Detroit. This is an interruption of my plans. The delay is for concern of the safety of the passengers, so the rational part of me argues that it is difficult to be overly annoyed by the delay.
Still, I get to decide how I’ll respond to my plans being interrupted. I can be annoyed for allowing myself to be in a situation where I rely on others. I can resent the time I won’t get back. I can also choose to consider the change in my plans to be a Holy Spirit directed opportunity.
James 4:13-15 reads, “Now listen, you who say “today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.””
Trusting in the incomparable goodness and plans of the Lord!