“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher
I’ve spent my career, pretty much since I was 14, working in the political world and the public policy arena.
Now, as I look to back away from politics and do more in the Christian non-profit world, or even some aspect of ministry, I am noticing some surprising parallels between the two worlds.
In addition to the actual work to get done, the long 10 to 18-hour days, and the travel, there are the meetings.
As you might imagine I’ve spent a lot of time in meetings. Oh so many meetings.
Rarely are these meetings like the ones you saw in that political thriller. Rarely are they exciting, rarely are they important, rarely do they decide the fate of the world, or even a campaign, and most off, rarely, if ever, do they accomplish anything.
Instead, there are meetings to plan meetings, pre-meetings to plan the planning meetings, post-meetings to discuss the plans discussed in the planning meetings, meetings to schedule other meetings, and meetings that, well, I’m not sure I will ever know what they are for.
As my mentor always said, “Washington, D.C. is filled with a bunch of big wheels going around in little circles.”
One constant theme of all these meetings is for “very important” people to assure the attendees that “there’s a plan for that.”
“But, how are we going to…?”
“Don’t worry; we have a plan for that.”
“What if the opponent says…?”
“Don’t worry we are developing a plan for that.”
Meetings, especially those that are called planning meetings, are almost always a waste of time.
Unless, that is, something comes out of them. Real action items with clear direction, assigned tasks and deadlines.
Unfortunately, far too many people spend their time planning, developing plans, discussing plans, and worrying about plans.
When in fact, there is only one perfect plan.
And it’s not my plan.
It’s not your plan.
It’s His plan.
And if we would all just start there, with His perfect plan, the rest would come easier.
It’s not the plan being written by those really smart guys in their Ivy League Ivory towers, or the one being pushed by the gray suited faceless government bureaucrats, or even the one being promoted by the Gucci wearing corporate lobbyists.
The only perfect plan is His plan.
Psalms 18: 30-32: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God?
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.”
Don’t get me wrong. Planning is important in life. But there is a problem with spending too much time, talent and treasure making plans.
We can plan all we want, but if our plans are not His plans we will always find our plans eventually fail or fall apart.
There is an old Yiddish proverb: “We plan, God laughs.”
The point is, we can plan all we want, but if it is not part of His plan, then it just doesn’t matter.
If we are not walking according to His plan, we are not letting Him be Lord of our life.
Proverbs 19:21: “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”
I did not plan to be indicted, tried and convicted of crimes that I did not commit. I did not plan to lose work and income, my constitutional rights, spend 2 years on probation and see my reputation destroyed.
I did not plan to be diagnosed with skin cancer and suffer major health problems while all of that was going on.
Heck, I didn’t even plan for my wife to leave politics and devote herself to full-time ministry work.
But, nonetheless, here I am.
A good friend of mine put it best when he said:
“If God’s plan for all of creation is perfect (and I believe it is) and if someone is living in accordance with God’s will for their life, then His plan for their life is perfect. In fact, His plan is so perfect His will is being done whether you are trying to work it or not … God’s plan is perfect for achieving His will, not our own …”
And so, I may not have planned for all of these things to occur in my life, but clearly His plan is being worked.
As Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
We must always turn to the Lord for direction in all that you do and then work the plan that He has given you.
While I did not plan for these turns in my life, they happened, and all of them have led me closer to Him. I am more involved at church, more deeply in the Word, more loving and accepting of others, finally able to begin forgiving, passionate about missions and yep, even praying about leaving politics to work in ministry.
So, you see, there was a plan. Just not mine.