Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Justified Plan

           I have been called "a planner"; it is true that I love to...well...plan. So I was thrilled, years ago, when I discovered that God plans too and loves a good plan. For some, planning is a horrid term that leaves no room for adventure, excitement, or spontaneity and to those I would say that can sometimes be true. A plan is not always the right plan.  As Christians we remember that "the plans of the righteous are just," (Prov. 12:5 KJV), but a righteous plan is not always the plan that we think is right. It is easy for all of us trying to learn to plan, to become caught up in our own agenda.  Yes, simply pursuing a dream God has given us does not mean that one will automatically plan in the right way. Our plans are "A Work in Progress", but with God if we will be willing to take His adjustments even our plans will be justified.

          Starting from the middle may not make any sense, but for you to understand the error of my ways it seems the best place to begin.  I remember a time when I had taken our daughter to a Christian book store to aid me in the purchasing of a bible, a gift that my husband was giving to a friend. As we found the one that he had decided on our daughter showed me another bible that she really liked. I told her that we would look at purchasing that on another day. She was excited about the future gift as we made our way to the cash register with our intended item. On the way home her eyes sparkled as she told me of the money she had in her spending wallet and the intentions to save more funds in the upcoming months to go towards getting that bible she desired on the store shelf. That evening, away from her little ears, I shared these precious moments with my husband. We both shared proud words about our little lady, a child hungry for God's word. And that is when it happened....My Plan.

          With cheerful anticipation I shared this idea with my husband that we should buy that very bible for our daughter as an Easter present. Without even giving him a moment to interject I plotted out when I would go to the store and purchase it and how we would surprise her. Oh I was thrilled with this great idea! My husband said that it sounded fine to him, most likely because of my level of excitement, ongoing chatter, and focused look in my eye. Later that same week something occurred to me. Maybe our daughter would appreciate her bible more if she saved and bought it herself. NAH! That is crazy, I thought, because this would be a blessing from God through her parents. I just knew I was doing the right thing and by being so sure of my own righteousness I did not go to God for advice.

          Now, let’s go back to the beginning. Before that day when our daughter laid eyes on that bible at that bookstore she had been learning the lessons of stewardship. From tithing, to giving, to saving, and spending she had for months been taught godly ways to handle money. As His wisdom principles lit her way she became more and more thrilled about being able to participate with her own money. I witnessed our young lady begin to grow up in the godly knowledge of handling finances. I even looked forward to her being able to purchase things own her own and have an appreciation for the value of the things that she bought.

          Watching your children apply knowledge so that they can grow in wisdom is what every parent should want, that is unless that parent is focused on her plan.  Please, do not get me wrong, it is important to give to your children and surprise them with gifts of love, but not at the expense of a lesson in motion. Anyone who has saved for something knows the joy of being able to purchase that thing they have applied a discipline to obtain.

          For years, I had developed the discipline of saving to purchase and don't get me wrong, it would bless me if right before I laid down my money over the counter someone was to gift it to me. The difference here is that this was a first lesson for our daughter and more importantly I believe it was a God lesson. This is vital, because although we should have a desire to bless others we should first seek God about “the - who, what, when, and how” to bless those in our lives.

          I did buy that bible for our daughter and she was grateful, but after the excitement wore off she walked through the wonderment of why she saved and what she was to do with the money she had allocated for her planned purchase. Did acting on my own plan derail our daughter to a life of financial ruin? NO. But it sure taught me a lesson in following God's plan instead of my own.

          Being "A Work in Progress" I sought God about how to help put the wind back in her savings plans and of course he put another goal in her heart. She has bought many items with her own money since then and each time I do my best to encourage her.  And sometimes I even help her to meet her financial goals, but now I seek God’s advice first. 

          We grow to be the person that God knows that we can be when we follow His justified plans, not our own ones. As "A Work in Progress", if we listen God will help us "adjust" our plans so that they are not merely productive, but righteous in order for them to be just.

"A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps,"

(Prov. 16:9 NKJV)

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