Biblical Planning

September 2022

I make lists! I’ve made them all my life.

Pretty much every day! I love lists.

Usually, my new lists are made up of what I didn’t get done the day before and then all the new things that have magically materialized in the last 12 to 24 hours. (Sometimes I make a new list because I lost the one I made the day before.)

Sometimes my lists get really organized so that I have ‘Long Term’ and ‘Short Term’ items. Once in a while I might even use color!

The best thing about lists? Making the line through the ‘stuff’ I got done!

If I’m able to keep track of a list long enough and get everything crossed off, that list qualifies for the archives, or at least to be left on my desk for a few days to return to and get that feeling of accomplishment all over again. It’s a ‘monument’ to a productive day!

I think Elijah made lists – James says ‘he was a man just like us’, so I’m sure he did.

Now you’d think that a guy who’s led teams and trained leaders for the last 30 years would have more to offer than ‘lists’ when it comes to Biblical Planning.

Well, I do. You see, left to myself, and my own processing I’d just be making lists, crossing them off and repeating the same thing every day, but there’s more to it than that – a lot more, if I want them to be truly productive.

I think it starts with our understanding of Gods heart toward us and the ‘stuff ‘we do every day.

Eccl 3:11 states that ‘God has ‘set’ (or ‘planted’) eternity in our hearts, but even so, people cannot ‘see’ the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.’

This is a ‘loaded’ verse. The whole thing is packed with an underlying sense that God, has been, and is, up to something. If we could just wrap our hearts and minds around that truth alone, it could change our lives. If we were able to wake up every day with a genuine understanding that God is eager to reveal more of His ‘work’ or ‘plan’ to us and for us, it would be a game changer. The list might look a bit different – or would it?

I’m sure some things would at least change their position of priority, and some things might drop off, but God wants us to be doing stuff ‘in the world’ – just not ‘of’ it. We still have lawn to mow, oil to get changed and taxes to do. So, what would change?

A lot has to do with our understanding of our relationship with the Holy Spirit and the idea that God is still up to something in us and through us – and in our work and through our work!

So, let’s go back and look at Eccl 3:11.

The idea that God has ‘placed eternity in our hearts’ isn’t something that we talk about or even think about very often – or is it? When was the last time you longed to ‘get away’, go out for dinner, hike in Moab or Yellowstone, or walk the beaches of the Caribbean, or wished things were better in the world – no cancer, war, chaos, or getting old?

These are all a result of eternity being planted in our hearts – we’re longing for things to be as they were – to be back ‘home’ in Eden where we could walk and talk with Jesus’ face to face! (No Zoom meetings) And so, ‘the plan’ of God is to restore all of that, and we’re key characters in that plan (the story of redemption). Your life matters, your work matters, your heart matters, and your ‘list’ matters to the Trinity! I’m serious – it really matters!

Take a look at the second half of v11 . . . But even so, people cannot ‘see’ the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

There’s stuff we don’t know.

Now, there’s a lot of stuff God’s revealed since Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes. The fulfillment of over300 scriptures in the Old Testament about Jesus being the Messiah and the great mystery of redemption being revealed through his death, burial, and resurrection. And then there’s the whole idea of ‘the church’. Doesn’t it sound like God was up to something?

Now listen carefully, He’s still up to something. The story isn’t over, it’s getting close to the end of the second chapter, but it’s far from over. Remember God planted eternity in our hearts! That’s where we’re headed – the new Eden – forever. No harps and wings – but a whole lot of fun and purposeful work and maybe even some lists.

The ‘not knowing’ part is where The Trinity teaches us about trust, and their joy in honoring our faith with a sense of peace and the assurance that they have things in control. There is a story, and it ends well for us, but it’s not always easy. Stuff happens and it’s not always that good. That’s why Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble” and Eldredge responds, No kidding. Jesus, the master of understatement, captures in one sentence the story of our lives. He adds, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Why aren’t we more encouraged? (Sometimes we’ll try to feel encouraged when we hear a “religious” passage like this, but it never really lasts.) The reason is that we are still committed to arranging for life now.”

So, let’s circle back to lists and the idea of ‘Biblical Planning’. What if we could sit down in the morning, or maybe it’s the evening for you, or maybe it’s just once a week that you make your list or plan, and you could invite God Himself into the process. Something like an intentional invitation to the Holy Spirit to help you make your list or plan, while you’re reading scripture, or praying and meditating, or reading a blog, or listening to a podcast (good grief, there’s a lot of options).

I’ve found that the Spirit loves to reveal stuff to us while we’re ‘in the word’ or praying. It’s not any kind of mystery, it’s just that things ‘come to our minds’, and we ask the Spirit to help us ‘take our thoughts captive’ 2 Cor 10:5 and sort out the good stuff and add it to the list. Oh, did I say that I try to always (notice I said ‘try’) have a note pad and pen close by.

This isn’t rocket science, it’s a different way of thinking about our relationship with the Holy Spirit. It’s intentionally inviting the one who knows our heart and the Fathers heart into our list making and planning, long term, or short term. Pretty good resource I’d say. And the thing is, He’s right there ready to engage. This takes the ‘arranging’ out of our hands and we move into a partnership with the creator of the universe to ‘create’ our lists and plans that ‘align’ with what He’s up to, in us, and through us.


Looking ahead to this month’s Discussions . . .

Into the Word

We’ll dig into the implications of being a significant ‘player’ in what God is up to, and how we can align our hearts, our minds, and our choices with the story He’s revealing.

Into the Workplace

Employee engagement in the US and Canada is fairly low at 33%. We’ll look at other workplace statistics and examine how we can bring the full recourses of our relationship with the Lord into our work in order to enhance the workplace atmosphere, productivity and employee engagement and satisfaction.