Plan for tomorrow’s foundation, not tomorrow’s results

Credit: Florence Lilly,

Credit: Florence Lilly,

Usually, we tend to think in concrete terms. For example, if I want to go to Niagara Falls next summer on vacation, I will make plans. I will decide which days I want to go and will then work to arrange those days off. Next, I will estimate what it will cost and will start saving money (no, don’t put it on the credit card!). I have a precise destination in mind and I’ll make sure it happens.

However, with so many things in life we can’t determine a precise destination, but we are still better off making plans. When I graduated high school, I had no idea that in the distant future I would be a college professor living in Florida. To me, Florida was only a place where my family once took a vacation; it was certainly not my destination over three decades in the future. Likewise, I do not know precisely where I will be in the coming years, but I do know with certainty that I will be “somewhere.”

So, if we cannot plan our exact destination, is it worthless to plan? If we don’t know where our exact location will be then why make plans to get there? And that brings me to my point. Even though we don’t know exactly where we will be, we know that we will be somewhere; therefore, the question is which direction do I want to take and how will I get there?

Last year I heard a young preacher and his wife who are on deputation for domestic missions. The preacher did a great job presenting his work and preaching a heartfelt sermon. After the service, I remarked to his father-in-law about what a fine young man he is and that I knew he was proud of both his son-in-law and his daughter and of their decision to be missionaries. Then, the father made a very profound observation. He said, my daughter decided to marry a fine young man and serve as a missionary not because of what we did as parents but because of the choices she made. All they did, according to her father, was to instill the right values in her by modelling that in the home and at church. She had to take it from there.

There was no way they could foresee what she would be doing with her life, but they planned and prepared with a direction in mind. The direction was to serve God with a glad heart and they made plans to bring that about. They raised her in a godly home, they took her to a church with a commitment to missions, they demonstrated service through their own missionary work, and they taught her how to be a godly woman. It’s no surprise that she followed that direction (e.g. train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it).

No, they did not know her exact destination, but through diligent planning and preparation, she was able to arrive at a good destination. God only knows where she will be in 10, 20, or 30 years, but she can rest assured that it will be a good destination if she continues to plan and set her sights in the right direction. Planning and purpose are more important than place.