Making Plans - One Year of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters

Making Plans

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.

James 4:13-16

Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.

Proverbs 27:1

But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me.

1 Corinthians 4:19

A new year means a new calendar or daily planner. All those blank dates just waiting to be filled in! What are you planning for this year? Where will you go, and what do you hope to accomplish?

It is good to make plans. Jesus affirmed the person who made sure he had the needed resources before building a tower, and the king who made sure he had enough troops before entering into battle (See Luke 14:28, 31). But there can also be a problem with making plans. The problem comes when we start assuming that we determine the course of our lives and the outcome of our plans, ignoring the fact that God is ultimately in control.

In the end, God is the one who determines the number of days we’re on this earth. Everything is filtered through his hands—what we accomplish and whether we succeed or fail. And God wants us to make our plans and speak of our plans in a way that reflects our firm confidence that he is in control. So James tells us that instead of pronouncing what we are going to do as if we’ve given no thought to God, we should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” It is foolish to talk as if we chart our own destiny and determine the course of our lives. As wise Solomon says, “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).


What kind of plans do people write down on calendars?

Is the phrase “if the Lord wants us to” something we need to say out loud about all our plans, or is it more of a heart attitude we need to have? Or is it a little of both?

What goals do you have for this year that you want to submit to God’s sovereign (all-powerful) plans?

From the Book: