Do your plans for plans for this week cause anxiety to rise in you before you've even seen the sun rise? Are you trying to cross off tasks from your to-do list before you've finished your first cup of coffee and your toddler bounces into your room? Hello, Monday, we have not missed you.
It’s another week, another Monday, and another fresh start to a week that holds promise, tasks, people, and ambition for so many of us. And here we are, likely staring down the barrel of more things than we have time for. Maybe you are a young mom and your kids wake up sick, derailing your planned trip to the pool (true story last week!). Or maybe your small (or big!) children create more work for you than you have time to finish (true story, as well!). Maybe you are in sales and your planned sales trip is postponed because a customer in town needs you to help with an order. All this does is bump your work to another week, while emails remain unanswered and tasks remain unfinished. Maybe you are a teacher starting a new school year, and your classroom isn’t ready for you (even though you have only a few days to prepare it for the arrival of students next week).
We all have plans—and we all have things that derail those plans.
Thankfully, the Bible has a lot to say to us about our best laid plans and the things that interrupt them. Consider Proverbs 19:21:
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Or Proverbs 21:31:
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
In both of these verses we are reminded that planning is good. God’s sovereign care over us doesn’t negate the need for proper planning and hard work. We should have a plan, we should work hard, and we should be ambitious and forward thinking. But we should also hold those plans loosely. While we may feel like we are in control of the outcome of our plans and hard work, God’s word reminds us that we are actually mere facilitators of the outcome. The finished work belongs to the Lord, not us.
This is actually quite freeing for us, even as we walk into a work week that might overwhelm us. We don’t have to work like the end result belongs to us. We can work knowing the end result belongs to him. There is one to-do list, one plan, one task that always gets done—the Lord’s. I can have many plans on any given day and they can regularly be derailed by any manner of circumstances. Not so with God. The same God who spoke creation into existence is the God who always get his work done, and is working even now to accomplish his purposes for us (John 5:17; Rom. 8:28). When I’m unable to get all of my tasks done, or when I feel like I’m being swallowed up by the needs of small children and there simply aren’t enough hands to meet them all, God can meet their needs, God can multiply my work, and God is still on my side accomplishing his purposes for me.
Trusting in the purposes of the Lord doesn’t nullify our plans. It reorients them. It puts them in right focus. So yes, work hard. Make plans. Prepare for everything in faithfulness, but at the end of the day remember that the unfinished tasks of your day belong to the Lord, and only he gets his to-do list done.