Plans, Purposes and Priorities

“I didn’t accomplish a single thing I set out to do today!” How many times have we stewed in the frustration of such seeming futility? Whether self-discipline came up short or interruptions stretched out long, events turned out to be nothing like we’d expected and we fret the failure of our plan. But what if execution were actually the least of our problems, that a glaring omission in our plan rendered today’s to-do list a frustration from its conception?

Plans follow purpose. This is why organizations articulate mission statements—to establish one shared sense of purpose for its people and a focal point for the supporting strategies by which they accomplish it. Yet while any number of leadership books extol the value of alignment, virtually all of them overlook this indispensable Biblical truth: “Many are the purposes in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”1 We may have dutifully conceived plans that follow our pursuits, but if ours do not sync with God’s, and if our daily demands override His clarion call, we will never be completely satisfied, nor our purpose fully realized. For at the other end of what we might regard as an interruption is often a person struggling with a need—be it physical, emotional or spiritual in nature. We’ve been in their place before, and how grateful we were when someone sacrificed their comfort and convenience to share our burden and lighten our load. Perhaps they, like we, felt the frustration of a less productive day, but we thanked God for His love poured out through these, His obedient ones, as they helped to overcome our troubles.

For those of us who like structure and order to our day, ceding our agendas over to the higher and broader purposes of God can feel messy and at times downright burdensome. As Solomon wrote, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”2 But on the other side of obedience is blessing, not only for those who cut in on our calendars, but ultimately for us, too. So we watch for God’s daily directions—His divine appointments—and prioritize His purposes over our plans. Life is more fruitful this way.

Father, we confess our plans cater to ourselves and overlook Your higher purposes. Fill us with Your Spirit, that we would hear your call today and give ourselves over to your plans and purposes, that others would be blessed and You would be glorified. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Proverbs 19:21
2 Proverbs 20:24