There’s probably a lot that comes to mind when you read that phrase. Some people relish in the dreaming and planning for their future while others just feel anxiety, guilt or frustration. Even further, some of us think about that and may be in middle of those extremes. Regardless of your gut reaction when you read that, we read in Luke 14:28 the importance that Jesus places on planning ahead when talking to a crowd about counting the cost of following Him. The candor and common sense that Jesus shares in this passage is refreshing and insightful:
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’”
Jesus shares this illustration to emphasize the personal responsibility that we as stewards of His resources need to place on planning for the future and evaluating how our priorities influence our decisions around our time, talents, and treasures. If we believe that everything we have is a gift from God, and that He owns it all, we have a responsibility to honor that with the way we live our lives in every aspect. Part of the way that we honor the gifts God has blessed us with this by stewarding them in a way that aligns with God’s commission on our lives to love Him and to love others.
The planning that we do today, is allowing us to honor God now and in the future.
That being said, you may also ask the question, “But doesn’t God say not to worry and that He will care for all our needs?” The short answer is yes; in Matthew 6:25-34:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”
To better understand this, imagine a sailboat. A sailboat is dependent on two critical components: it’s sail, and wind. Yet, in cooperation, it’s an impressive sight. I picture my responsibility to plan in life as “putting the sail up” and God is the wind that directs the sail. I can’t expect God to move the sailboat without first putting up the sail to catch the wind that he provides.
In terms of planning for the future, it’s our responsibility to present our best efforts by taking the next right step that God has for us (putting the sail up) and allow him to direct our path over time (the wind that moves the boat in the right direction).
In what way can you best plan for the future with a proper reliance on God’s plan for your life?