Friday, November 8, 2013

Plan? or let it happen? ................................... Parables 039

Do “persistent planners” frustrate you? How about the people who just “take each day as it comes”?

Two extreme personality types they certainly are, and put two of them on the same committee, or in the same marriage, and there will most likely be some major wars. The planner wants control and order, the easy-going person is more apt to trust that order will come without control, and that extensive planning is folly.

One thing that I have noticed about myself is that I tend to try and order or plan the things that I should be trusting God to take care of, and I am free and easy about the things that He has given me the responsibility to plan. Such perversity no doubt frustrates God, sometimes upsets those around me, and certainly steals a great deal of peace of mind that otherwise could be mine. Often the problem is a question of responsibility. Who does what?

Responsibility is a broad topic. Some would give God the weather, the seasons, and anything else that they cannot change, while they busily try to control everything else.

Then there are those people who believe that God is responsible for almost all things, leaving them with very little to do. For example, “God will find me a job,” they say, and refuse to write a resume, answer an ad, or go from place to place making inquiries.

In between those extremes are a few who try to keep a balance. I recall one time being so frustrated with my lack of trust in God, and my inability to be responsible that I sat down and wrote out a two-column list with “God does . . . ” at the top of one column, and “I do . . . ” at the top of the other. After the list had several items on it, I wrote at the bottom, “ . . . and don’t you forget it!” But making a list didn’t change my temperament.

Some soul-searching in the Word of God has helped me to see that my error comes from two sinful attitudes. One is pride. The other is laziness.

Pride tends to make a person want to be in charge, to play God as it were, not only over their own life, but in the lives of others. Pride keeps me from trusting Him to do what only He can do. Pride will manipulate, calculate, and determine. Pride pushes me to push His limits, and doubt His control. Pride will urge me to run when he tells me to wait.

On the other hand, laziness has no intention of playing God. Instead, it sits me back, props up my feet, and coaxes me into thinking that somehow, God will miraculously do those things that He tells me to do, therefore I don’t have to do anything.

There is a place for waiting, even relaxing with feet up and hands folded. Faith sometimes requires that. And there is a place for hard work, consistent effort, and much planning. Faith will also require that. But God says there is no place in my life for pride, or laziness.

The problem is how to tell the difference between pride and zeal, between laziness and humble trust. The solution is having a sensitive spirit, learning how to listen to God, and reading His Word, comparing what he says to the task at hand. He is willing to reveal impure motives, and to replace pride with His humility, laziness with His zeal.

Concerning our planning, He says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

And when we sit back, He can move us . . .  “the LORD stirred up the spirit of . . .  the governor... the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work . . .” (Haggai 1:14) 

As we make an effort to learn and to obey, God is able to keep the balance. 

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