October 31, 2022

Do You Have A Plan For Your Life?

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.  Proverbs 16:3

Years ago, an immigrant succeeded the hard way.  He worked long hours, made the customer feel important, and was sensitive to the needs of those who came to his shop.  All of his hard labor paid off, and determining to give his son more than he had, he saved and sent the youth off to college.

When the son came back to join the business, he was appalled at his dad’s bookkeeping and urged him to computerize and do it the modern way.  The dad replied, “I have a bookkeeping plan.”  Then he explained.  “It works like this.  When I started my business, I had $100 and the pants I was wearing.   Now, when I want to know what I’m worth, I deduct the pants and $100 and what’s left over is profit.”

A generation ago it may have been acceptable to keep your cash in an old cigar box and use a yellow writing pad for accounting, but not today.  The failure to know where you are going in business accounts for the vast percentage of small business failures.  A strategic plan, whether it is for your business, your church, or your life is vitally important.

Sure, there are a host of professionals who can tell you what to do, but no one has greater heart than you or knows better where you want to go with your life and work than you.  Business advisor Denis Waitley says, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in five.”  He’s right.  Most of us get so involved with the tyranny of the urgent that we neglect looking beyond the immediate problem.  You don’t know what the tyranny of the urgent is?   It’s the interruptions and the clutter that take up your time with demanding but not necessarily important details and trivia—the ringing telephone, the interruptions by the post man, the walk-in friends, and the junk mail that clutters your desk.

Jesus said, “”Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28).   A plan which includes your goal and objective, counting the cost to see if your resources will allow it to succeed, and then an action plan which translates it from an idea or dream into reality is the only way some things happen.  Did you notice that he first sits down and counts the cost?

A friend of mine has flitted from one business to another, each time talking in glowing terms about the huge amounts of money he is sure to make on this next business venture, but the past is a succession of failures.  He fails to count the cost, including emotional and physical energy, time away from the family, as well as capital investment necessary to make a single one succeed.

It’s amazing what marriages, families, and friendships have in common with successful businesses.  Planning and execution work pretty much the same way for them all.

There is one more factor which has to be considered in strategic planning, and that is God’s direction in your life and work.  When he was asked what his five-year plan was, Francis Schaeffer used to reply that he had none, that God had not yet revealed what was to be his direction five years in the future.  I’ve never forgotten that.  Wise is the man or woman who makes God his senior partner.  I’ve always liked what the writer of Proverbs wrote long ago.  With this I close: “We can make our plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands.  We can always prove that we are right, but is the Lord convinced?  Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed” (Proverbs 16:1-3, Living Bible).  Ah, yes, commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed.  What more can anyone need?

 

Resource reading: Proverbs 16:1-33