Any enterprise is built by WISE PLANNING, becomes strong through COMMON SENSE and profits wonderfully by KEEPING ABREAST OF THE FACTS (Proverbs 24:3-4, TLB)
The dictionary defines planning as a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to do or achieve something. Another definition says planning entails mental formulation and sometimes graphic representation as in a building plan.
While vision is having foresight about the future, planning is having forethought about the future. Planning involves thinking through a given task, it is brain work. Someone said if you aren’t committed to mental work, you will end up doing menial work. Planning is trying to solve tomorrow’s problems before tomorrow comes, it enables the planner secure the future (Proverbs 21:5). Planning helps to prevent wastes and dissipate resources; Jesus before miraculously feeding the 5000 men instructed them to be seated in groups of 50 and thereafter gathered up 12 baskets of leftovers (Luke 9:10-17). Planning also helps to conserve energy and to relieve tensions. Planning helps the planner chart the course which is necessary for the next level of accomplishment.
Nehemiah laid out a detailed and strategic plan before venturing to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, and he was able to accomplish the daunting task in just 52 days.
To plan successfully, the following is expedient:
Pray: The first thing Nehemiah did on hearing about the ruins of the walls of Jerusalem was to go before God and pray. He confessed sins, purged himself through fasting, pleaded for mercy and reminded God of His covenant and promises to Israel (Nehemiah 1:4-11). This kind of sincere prayers will birth genuine vision, burden and a blueprint (plan) in the heart (James 1:5-6).
Look Inwards: A big part of planning is to evaluate one’s resources or what is within one’s disposal. What do I have to create my desire? Nehemiah, by the favor of God was able to get the maximum support of King Artaxerxes who wrote letters of consent on his behalf to the governors in the region. The king also detailed some of his security officials to him. Nehemiah knew what he needed for the job to be accomplished and he secured a major part of this from the king. Jesus said, “For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it” (Luke 14:28). Planning involves an objective evaluation of one’s resources.
Apply yourself mentally: Spirituality does not preclude strategic thinking (Ephesians 3:20). Planning, common sense and keeping abreast of the facts as stated in our main text (Proverbs 24:3-4) are all products of mental exertion. Thinking through a challenge could be a tough call; this is why it is prudent to always pray for wisdom and a blueprint.
Navigate through challenges: No matter how comprehensive one’s plan is, it will not reveal all the potential setbacks one may meet in the journey. Nehemiah never anticipated the fierce opposition he faced in Sanballat and Tobiah. However, he navigated through the opposition by creating a strategy and battle plan with which he overcame them hands down. He focused on the building of the wall and didn’t allow work to stop in spite of the opposition. Stick with your plan and vision till the end.
Conclusion: What are your plans towards eternity? Have you accepted Jesus? Are you navigating through the trials and temptations the enemy and cohorts are bringing your way? This is the time to start planning for 2015.