One scripture scares me any time I remember or read through it. Many have twisted it the way they wanted and some others have reinvented it to support their theories. Alas, in the natural, it looks impossible to obey such declaration, but when we look at it through the google of the Spirit, we will see how much we miss for trying to assume another posture of mind in relation to the scriptural Jesus given injunction.
By the way, what scripture are we looking at? It is a very simple but powerful faith-demanding scripture. “Take no thought for tomorrow….” It will be insane (naturally thinking) not to make plans for the future, yet this scripture looks like we don’t have to preplan for tomorrow as God expects us to live day to day, looking up to God for ‘the day’s bread’.
In all ideological reasoning, planning is very very good. In fact, sages of our time have said “anyone who fails to plan, plans to fail.” But does this scripture suggest that we refuse to plan? I guess the answer would be NO. This scripture only suggest that we should not be overly bothered, perturbed and disturbed about tomorrow. This will lead to worry and worry will lead to anxiety and anxiety always weary the mind. Paul therefore in his epistle said, “be careful (anxious) for nothing….” Phil 4:6
Back to the driving scripture, it will be extremely wrong and insensitive to assume and conclude that Jesus suggested and commanded us not to plan. Jesus once taught us about planning when He said “who among you who desires to build a house will moves ahead without first sitting down to count the cost, measuring his resources against his desired project.” Common sense will suggest that before a major action point in life, good planning should be employed.
However, there are two extremes that must be addressed as this was also shown us in the scriptures with two major figures, the Apostle and the Prophet. Thank God for the balance of it, the Pastor. The Apostle is a planter, a planner or a strategist who looks for ways to start something new, but a prophet is spontaneous, can be led by the spirit at any time to do something. The pastor as a balance mechanism is a long time builder who must be skilled to balance the spontaneous arrangement with the strategist arrangements.
First Extreme: Plan without the Spirit.
So many people have trained themselves in the act of planning for everything that they seem to have planned God out of everything. Their life have become self-willed that nothing about God’s leading could be traced to such life’s adventure. And the fact that it works does not mean it’s okay, just that our natural world still operates on such philosophical paradigm.
Jesus once shared about the man of the spirit, he described such a person as one who follows the wind, one who’s ways and directions are not predicable in the natural senses. When our lives runs based on our plans alone, without the intervention of the Spirit, then we have become the administrators of our own lives. And such life will not be pleasing unto the Lord. In fact, such life ends with Solomon’s lamentation saying, “vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.” Life without God will be void, empty, formless and full of darkness.
Second Extreme: Spirit without plan.
Many fall into the trap of spiritualizing almost everything. Pls don’t crucify me here, I believe everything is spiritual and all stems from the Spirit, but there are things that we only need natural senses to deduce and accomplish. Many fail to realise that planning for certain things in life is very kin to the success of that thing and so they end up failing because of wrong perception. I was told a story of a brother who was about getting married. On the engagement day, he failed to buy all the things required for the engagement rites, and when asked, he will say, he’s waiting on the Spirit. As the time drew closer, people suspected that this guys was just not financially ready for the marriage so they rallied round to help him to save a face from shame. Jokingly, one can say, yes God helped him but truly, he failed in the vital demand of planning.
Back to the scripture driving this thought, when Jesus said take no thought for tomorrow, he meant it to the full and to details. Let me paint that scripture in another light.
“Don’t let the thoughts of tomorrow consume you to the extent that you will fail to live in today.” My paraphrase.
Earlier in that chapter, He had taught us to pray and He said, “give us the daily bread sufficient for the day” (my paraphrase). And the very next word reads, “and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” I like to relate with this from the financial aspect. Many have gone into huge debts because of trying to plan for tomorrow and rather than living in today accurately and perfectly, they end up drawing on themselves burdens upon burdens. People destroy their future in a bid to plan for a certain uncertain tomorrow.
Then, in the next line of prayer, Jesus said, “and lead us not into temptation….” As much as planning is good, the world has used it as a bait to finish the lives of people. I’ve heard of banking staff who through the bank’s loans program have been tied to the place for long time. For the fear and plan for tomorrow, they’ve sold themselves for a morsel of bread.
In rounding off this thought, Jesus said in that chapter also, “don’t think about what you will eat, nor about what you will drink neither also about the kind of cloths you will wear.” My paraphrase. By the way, the chapter in question is Matthew 6. These are the basic things that preoccupies our day to day thoughts. These are the things that make men sell their Soul the devil. These are the things that have driven men to greed and covetousness. These are the things have made our ladies to become prostitutes and sex workers. These things have led government administrators to become corrupt and in turn destroyed our societies. These simple basic elements of men’s demand have been the cause of wars and social unrest. These are reasons why the Holy Ghost is missing in some churches.
Plan when you should, but don’t let your plans take the place of the Holy Ghost. In conclusion, let me share with you this scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge the Lord and He will direct your paths. Don’t be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7.