I remember getting into a deep theological discussion about….. wait for it…… planning! There was some intensity to the discussion too. The jist of it was that the obsessive compulsives and anal retentives among us were pushing those that are more easy going to “do” metrics and planning types of things to make us more efficient stewards of our time. I remember going to get the “day timer” back in the day, but I could never find the time to organize it. I believe in those good First Article gifts that help us to maximize our time and effort but in my world these things simply do not work. I was slightly appalled at a recent gathering when I noticed a van in the parking lot that was emblazoned with the words, “professional organizer”. Asking the owner about this line of work I found out that most of it has to do with organizing space, like in my house where we seem to have misplaced the basement, but some of it has to do with organizing the space between peoples ears.
Here is my problem. On the one hand we have those that follow James logic when he writes in chapter 4 -” Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”
On the other hand we have those who say like Solomon in Proverbs 6:6-9 6Look to the ant, thou sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,7which, having no guide, overseer or ruler, 8provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Now that to me sounds more like a diatribe against being lazy but some equate lack of planning with being lazy. We have Jesus famous saying in Matthew 14 – “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and count the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Or perhaps, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, everyone who sees begins to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build, and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or what king, as he goes to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an envoy, and asks for conditions of peace.”
The problem with that one is that he is talking about calculating the “cost of discipleship”
My problem is simple. In my life the important sometimes misplaces the crucial and the crucial sometimes overrides the essential. There are simply so many diversions big and small that what I intended to do in the morning may be forgotten by mid- afternoon. It drives many in my life a bit wild at times so imagine my joy in finding this quote from Bonhoeffer.
We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and cancelling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks, as the priest passed by the man who had fallen among thieves, perhaps – reading the Bible….. it is part of the discipline of humility that we must not spare our hand where it can perform a service and we do not assume that our schedule is our own to manage, but allow it to be arranged by God.