My 5-Year Plan


Pastor, Richard L Rice, where living begins

A newly installed first-time pastor asked me, “What’s your 5-year plan?” The first thought in my mind was: “He sounds like a communist”, but then I realized this greenhorn wasn’t even alive when there was a Soviet Empire, so I tempered my response. “I plan to be serving the Lord wherever He has me.” He wasn’t amused.

There is nothing wrong with planning. It can be wise, but it can also be folly. We plan, create unrealistic expectations, and then fall into despair or crazed anger when those expectations don’t materialize as we imagined. Our plans can be so narrow and strict that we leave no room for the spontaneous or the unexpected. This is true in government planning, ministry, or daily life.

I have a general idea of what I need to accomplish today. Other than that, I’m open to whatever God does or brings. A 2-hour drive for an ice cream cone on Saturday? A long text conversation with my sister? Staying home and caring for my sick wife? All are acceptable. Life in God’s kingdom is about the journey. It’s along the journey that He builds our strength, stretches our faith, tests our integrity, and expands our horizons. None of these happen in the destination.

God does His most awesome work in us outside of our plans.

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand (Proverbs 19:21).

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