Luke 5:1–11; Luke 6:12–16; Luke 9:1–6; Luke 9:28–36; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 2:14 (read online ⧉)
What’s your 6-month plan? What’s your 12-month plan? What’s your 3-year plan? What’s your 10-year plan?
Some variation of this question is often asked of high school students, college students, recent graduates, job interviewees. In this particular time of COVID-19, it seems a little far-fetched to even make a plan.
Depending on your personality and training/learning, you may have a plan laid out for even 10- or 20-years. Others look at their past life and the future, and say why bother? Who knows what the next monkey-wrench will be.
Businesses have begun to learn, thanks to the start-up culture, that rigid plans are deadly. There is a term for it, agile. Businesses are now called to be agile by their stockholders. It’s a necessity as the next technological disruption is just around the corner. Other disruptions, like COVID-19, are much harder to be agile toward, however, companies that already had some agility were better able to respond.
If you look at the verses from Luke in sequence and ending with Acts, you see a change in plans. Peter is a major focal point as he moves from fisherman, to acquaintance, to follower (i.e., disciple), to inner-circle follower, to faith healer and herald, to an even smaller inner-circle, to transformed (by the Holy Spirit), to preacher and leader. This was not part of Peter’s plan.
At the point we meet Peter, his lifetime plan is fisherman. Three years later he’s the leader (of leaders) of a religious movement! Peter met Jesus, and the plan…it was gone.
It’s not that plans are bad. Jesus even praised planning (Luke 14:28-32). However, we have to be ready and willing to toss out our plans when Jesus calls.
Plans are our way to control our circumstances. This is why we have planning departments. This is even how we have modern agriculture. Planning is good.
Planning still has to yield to Jesus’ call. That’s where we often fail.
There will be many churches, businesses, cities, and even families that will not recover from COVID-19. In many cases, no amount of planning will prevent that. On the other hand, churches (especially) chose to not be agile, because that is not the way we’ve done it before.
Churches chose to die, rather than respond to Jesus Christ’s call for them to be agile in how they performed their mission. It could be, sadly, that they forgot the only mission that they had, “Go and make disciples…baptizing them…teaching them…”
On a personal level, just like an organizational level, we need to be agile. Our plans (as much as we want them to be) cannot be rigid and inflexible.
Whether it was the leaders (it was) or the people (it was) forgoing the mission for the sake of “the plan”, it means that “the plan” became the mission, and Jesus became a mascot.
Lord, give us your plans. Help us to release our plans. May we be the salt of the earth that you have called us to be. Amen.
1) What would be your response if God were to turn your plans upside down? What in your current life would you be willing to give up to follow God’s plan?
2) What are your plans right now? If you have none, why not? Should you? If you do have plans when was your last time to renew/refresh it?
3) Why do you think churches have a hard time changing plans?