Monday: James 4:13-16 Friday: Matthew 6:5-14
Tuesday: Matthew 6:25-34 Saturday: Luke 11:1-4
Wednesday: Jeremiah 29:1-4 Sunday: Luke 11:5-13
Thursday: Proverbs 16:1-9
To suggest that I am not a planner is to speak one of the most colossal understatements of all time. Left to my own devices in making decisions about what to do today or tomorrow (or next month), I’d undoubtedly rely on my trusted old friend … the seat of my pants. Reason #8,694 why I love my wife (for loving me the way I am and for being the balance that God intended).
Everyday life seems to demand planning. Whether you are young or well-seasoned, single or married, full house or empty nest, there are few times you can live moment to moment without some consideration of future plans. If what I just said is true, then what do you do with Jesus’ words in our reading from Matthew this week … That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? (Matt. 6:25-26) Maybe Jesus meant those words for people of that day and age, where life was much simpler than it is for us. Maybe he was talking about people who aren’t parents with children who need a college education some day, or people who don’t ever plan on retiring. That must be it. Actually, no, He is talking to you and me. Hear His promise and encouragement at the close of chapter 6 … Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (vs.33-34)
I believe we live so much “smaller” than what’s possible when we choose self or worldly wisdom – when we seek “sense” instead of truth. I do not believe scripture teaches against the practice of planning, but it does speak to truths which allow us to see it from the right perspective. In addition to being reminded of how little we should concern ourselves about the basics of food, shelter and clothing, we’ll also read this week about today and tomorrow not being guaranteed (James 4) and the truth that God is working out our best, even in the midst of deep trouble and trial (Jeremiah 29). Proverbs 16 will speak bold wisdom concerning the relationship between our plans and God being the one who authors and directs our steps.
Is the “seat of my pants” method God’s desire for us? Not in the sense that it can only ever rise to the level of human wisdom. But living your life Matthew 6-style, not taking today, tonight or tomorrow for granted, and acknowledging God is bigger than your plans is absolutely biblical (and might even wear a few holes in the seat of those pants).
Prayer is where many of our self-driven worries and desires find a voice. Just as choosing to leave the basics in God’s hands aligns our everyday lives with His nature, choosing to pray as Jesus did aligns our heart with His. When we adopt His practice of stealing away to find a quiet space to: talk to the Father; pray that His will (not ours) is done; and ask for the “bread” we need just for today, we become more like Him. We begin to see the world and its real need, and not ourselves and our perceived “need.” We find ourselves challenged not just to pray but to become engaged in how God is meeting real need. We can trust God knows what we need, and we can live bigger.