"The Best Laid Plans"

I should know by now to exercise caution in making plans! I had preached a funeral message and was headed to a friend's house to drop him off when I called Monique to say that I would pick up a loaf of fresh bread for our sandwiches and be home in ten minutes. I also shared with her that we could go out to do some shopping after lunch. However, it would be two hours later before we were sitting down to eat and it would be another hour later, as darkness approached, that we would finally get to the department store for that shopping. What happened? An unexpected interruption to my plans... a flat tire!

I was feeling pretty good about my time management that day, but all that boasting evaporated quickly when that sharp object in the roadway cut through my perfectly good right rear tire and  immediately destroyed it upon contact. I don't know how you define luck, but I was about as lucky as they say in Texas as "the guy riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels!" I was able to pull off the road just as the dash computer was displaying the obvious, "right rear tire - 0 inflation!" That message was telling me that my plans had been changed.
 A Fully Inflated Tire! 😀

When I arrived with the tow truck back to the shop in Sherman, Andy, the service man at our local auto repair shop, proceeded to fix my tire problem with a "loaner" until my new one could be shipped from southern Illinois the next week. I was good-to-go in an amazingly shorter time than I had thought. As Andy and I commiserated about how my plans had changed for the afternoon, he shared with me, the preacher, a bit of wisdom his dad used to tell him, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans!" I loved it! And it is so true!

During my seminary days, I was blessed to serve under the leadership of a seasoned pastor and friend Bro. Gene Hadley. He mentored me and several other staff members and imparted wisdom to us that guided our ministry efforts during those formative years we worked with him on staff at First Baptist, Granbury. On many occasions he would share with me to be on standby to preach so he and his wife, Margaret could be able to get away for a vacation or to visit family in Tennessee. He would always preface his plans by saying, "Lord willing, we're hoping to get away." I was so immature that I'd think, "why don't you just decide to go and do it!" It would be years later that I would understand how hard it is for a busy pastor to make concrete plans while shepherding a church family! 

Further, and more importantly, the Scriptures are pretty clear in cautioning each of us to not live with  presumption and arrogance about tomorrow's plans! James reminds us to seek the Lord in our planning, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town...and make a profit' - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'" (James 4:13-15 ESV).

The Scottish Poet, Robert Burns, penned this familiar proverb in his poem, To a Mouse, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang all agley" (meaning, they often go askew or wrong!). I guess I needed this little reminder again! I remember saying at a Bible study session just a few days before the flat tire, "Although I am retired, I still have a "to-do list!" I think I was boasting about how busy I am these days! God was listening (maybe laughing too!) and He loves all of us too much to let us live unchecked with any hint of presumption. As Sovereign Lord, God makes the daily "to-do list" of our lives and our job is to "trust and obey" as we follow through with His agenda!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

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