(For Mature Audiences Only)
Americans have always been a forward-looking people. We want to know what’s going to happen next, next year, next decade, next century. We’re preoccupied with the future. It’s amazing how people try all kinds of different things to try to forecast the future: tea leaves, fortune cookies, astrology, palm reading. We try many different ways to get a grasp on the future. We read books, subscribe to seminars that forecast the economic predictions. We attend conferences and seminars on planning and goal setting. What is the viewpoint for a follower of Jesus toward the future?
In the book of James, he illustrates the first mistake we often make in planning the future with a typical conversation between a couple of businessmen. One guy has his MBA from the University of Jerusalem and the other is the CEO of a Tel-Aviv 500 company. They’re talking and discussing their plans. We drop into their conversation in v. 13, “Now listen you who say, Today or Tomorrow. We will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” What’s wrong with this? People make plans every day. These are just a couple of entrepreneurs, go-getters. There is detail in the business plan; they have it all planned out. When? Today or tomorrow. Where? This or that city. How long? We’ll spend a year there. What? We’ll carry on business. Why? Make money. What’s wrong with this? The Bible doesn’t condemn making a legitimate profit. The Bible talks a lot about planning too. This man has planned everything. His purpose, the place, the progress. He’s got all the bases covered. What’s wrong here?
There’s not a single mention of God in this entire business plan. He knew what he wanted, he knew how to get there, but he didn’t check it out with God first. Don’t misunderstand. The Bible talks about planning. “No man goes out and builds a house without first considering how much it’s going to cost.” And the book of Proverbs says over and over again that if I don’t plan I’m a fool. It’s wise to plan. He’s not talking about planning, he’s talking about presumption without God. It’s great to have dreams, it’s great to have goals — as long as you include God, as long as you pray about it. There’s nothing wrong with what he did — all of these things are fine. It’s what he forgot to do. He forgot to include God. His attitude was one of self-sufficiency.
You see, you can be a follower of Jesus and forget God in your daily life. I know a lot of people who love God with all their heart but when it comes to planning their business or career or their school education they are practical atheists. It’s sad to meet somebody who says, “I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe He exists.” It’s sadder to find somebody who says, “I believe He exists,” but then lives like He doesn’t exist. He doesn’t make any plans involving the Lord. He just goes off on his own as if all depends on him. You say, “I believe in God.” Does He have a say in your business? You say, “I don’t believe in mixing business and faith.” All business is God’s business if you’re a real follower of Christ. Don’t plan without God. That’s presumptuous. Planning without God is practical atheism.
If you’re serious about “Growing To The Next Level” make sure you include God in your plan.“The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands.” 2 Cor. 8:10 (Msg) Start planning your future today by considering inviting God into your plan.