Every Wednesday I head over to Wimbledon for the "Co-Mission Workshop", its a training day for apprentices across South-West London. We have biblical exegesis, doctrine groups (working through Wayne Grudems "Systematic Theology" - highly recommended!) and Ministry Question Time. Its a great morning!
This morning in Biblical Exegesis we were looking at James 4:11-17. One thing particularly stood out for me. James challenges those of us making plans for our future;
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance."
So often I make plans for my future - next year I'll do this, then after that I'll go there and do that. Its so normal in our society that I'm often oblivious to the arrogance of such thinking. Who am I to plan what I will be doing tomorrow, never mind in ten years? Do I act as though I'm the one in the driving seat of my own life, dominating my life plan and destroying all those who get in the way of it?
"Is it wrong then to plan for my future?" I hear you ask! "Are we to live in a perpetual circle of uncertainty? No! There is certainly wisdom, and time management and organisation. All of these are God-given gifts (that some of us need to learn!). I think the point behind James' point here is an issue of motive. Do I assume that God will submit to my plans? Or am I open and willing to change the whole course and direction of my life for him? If I assume God's submission, what does that say about my understanding of his holiness, his sovereignty? And what does it say about my understanding of his lordship over my life?
No, instead I am to use my time wisely, to plan it well, to be prepared for the days ahead, but to be willing and open and desiring to follow after God, wherever that takes me!