Thoughts about planning and long-range goal-setting…
Proverbs 16:1 – We can and should make our plans. Plans that truly motivate us and excite our hearts are the fuel of life. Yet the Lord is also interested in the reply of the moment. Our love for others (demonstrated in our conversations now – with patience, wisdom, and helpfulness) is the stuff God uses to achieve his righteous ends.
Proverbs 16:2 – We can justify our actions based on the long-range plans we have set, but God evaluates our motives and attitudes in the moment.
Proverbs 16:3 – It is assumed that we have goals and long-range plans, yet we still need to commit our in-the-moment actions to the Lord. With goals in the back of our minds, we focus on doing what is right and what is honoring to God each day, whether or not it seems to bring us closer to our goals. It is that kind of living that God honors by giving success to the goals. Who determines whether we succeed in the long-run or whether we fail? Is it not God? Therefore to honor God each day is the way to reach success in the end. Sometimes what’s right today may seem to take us further from the goals. For instance, children may need discipline, parents may need our assistance, an injustice may need to be corrected, or the needy may need rescue. Yet these godly ‘distractions’ are the building blocks God uses to bring true success to our plans.
Proverbs 16:4-8 – God has long-range plans also. And in his plans the person who is selfish and wicked today has an end-game of destruction. So our actions today (righteous or wicked) determine how we fit into God’s long-range plans!
Proverbs 16:9 – Like in verse 1, it is right for a man to set a course for his life, to have plans that excite him and goals that motivate. Yet in all this planning, remember that the Lord will guide each day. And our true test is whether we honor him each step of the way, not whether we achieve the end we think is right.
Do you agree? Proverbs 16:1–9 (NIV84)
1To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.
2All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
3Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
4The Lord works out everything for his own ends— even the wicked for a day of disaster.
9In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.