“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
I organized a ladies retreat we called “Refresh.” It was a perfect blend of my enjoyment in planning and pointing ladies to Jesus. But I found myself in a daily tug-of-war between prayer over the Refresh and my obsession over even the tiniest detail. My prayers soon drifted into to-do lists. A quick reminder text later and my quiet time was derailed.
I wish my plans always had an eternal purpose. I plan meetings and vacations. Birthday parties and play dates. There is such a temptation to dive into my to-do list and start checking off completed tasks. Certainly organization is good. But so much energy is poured out in details and distractions I lose sight of my purpose in Christ and the need for others to see Christ in me. As Jesus heals the sick, blind, dying and even dead his purpose is so clear. “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven” Jesus says to the paralytic man in Matthew 9. The man came to Jesus for healing and received more than his ability to walk. He was granted forgiveness. Jesus saw to physical well being. This is what people came to him for. This is when they saw miracles and believed. But Jesus saw the spiritual ailments. The blind and anemic not in body but spirit. The plan may have been to move from town to town showing the power Jesus had over sickness. But the purpose was to show God’s power over spiritual death. To give salvation to those who loved Jesus for his compassion and healing touch and gave up their lives to follow him.
When Jesus told the man to “get up, take your mat and go home,” the entire crowd praised God. They saw the miraculous and believed in his ability. Not all would commit to a life of following him, but some would. Jesus’ plan was bring many to him. Not long after healing the paralytic man Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house. Upon being criticized for eating with “sinners” Jesus tells them “…it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” He goes on to clarify it is not the righteous he is calling to him but the sinners. Through one miracle he drew a multitude to him. Through one act of compassion and love a crowd was moved. That God would use even the smallest of my tasks to impact many!
If I show compassion and love in the name of Jesus to even one person, God uses that to bring even more to him. A birthday party can be a day to bring joy to someone’s life, and exemplify Jesus’ love to all who attend. A vacation can provide a sweet reminder of the importance of family. A ladies’ retreat can provide a place where many women are forever changed in their walk with God. When I say “today or tomorrow I will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money” I am making my plans. But if I lift my eyes off the compulsion to plan and say “if it is the Lord’s will,” I now have a purpose.