During this time of the year, our thoughts seem to turn to the future. We realize we are on the final calendar pages of 2020 and decide it is a good time to give some consideration to the year ahead. Whether you are writing resolutions, making business plans, or setting personal goals for next year, many of us are focusing on what we would like to see happen. Simply stated, we try to analyze where we are, look at what we’ve accomplished in 2020, and make some judgments about the year ahead.
It seems good for us to evaluate and plan, and the Bible has some things for us to consider. Take a moment to read Proverbs 31:10-31, and reflect on what the woman described here accomplishes. She provides for her family and takes care of her husband. She’s also a merchant, an importer, a seamstress, a weaver, and she’s involved in real estate and farming. All of these things require planning and goal-setting.
Jesus challenges a crowd of people in Luke 14:25-30 to consider the cost of following Him. He explains this by saying that a person who wants to build a tower will first sit down and estimate the cost, to see if he can afford to build it. Otherwise he may be ridiculed for not finishing the job.
But we are also warned, in James 4:13-15, that we do not know what will happen in the future, but our God does! And He is in control. So James reminds us to ask, before we plan, if what we have in mind is also God’s will for us to accomplish. “Instead you ought to say ‘if the Lord wills, we will live and do this and that.’” (James 4:15 ESV). That is the “secret ingredient” in making doable resolutions and setting workable goals. The Proverbs 31 woman honors God in all she does and she is praised for doing so. Proverbs 19:21 tells us “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
So perhaps we should check with Him before we set down our resolutions, plans, and goals for 2021 and beyond.