With excitement a young couple sat in my office sharing their plans for marriage. As they talked about their love for each other and their plans for the wedding day, I asked about future goals. Where would they live? What jobs or vocational training had they obtained? How much would it cost for them to live as a couple? With a somewhat shocked look on their faces they both proclaimed, “We’re not worried because we know that God will provide”. It was hard to adjust this youthful confidence as I tried to bring the couple to reality. Yes, God will provide but there are responsibilities on our part also.
In Matthew 25:1-13 Jesus shares how the kingdom of heaven is like ten young ladies who are invited to an evening wedding celebration. Five looked ahead, determined how best to prepare for possible delays or challenges and they brought extra oil for their lamps, the other five used no foresight or planning and just “showed up”. Of course you know the story, the five who planned ahead, were prepared when the celebrations started, the other five were left behind as they scrambled to obtain what they should have procured beforehand. Looking forward and planning ahead are attributes which we as Christians need to have as daily characteristics of our life. We are challenged not to worry about the future (Matt. 6:25-34) but planning ahead and preparation is essential. The scriptures exhort us to:
- Study – i.e. diligently prepare now, for times in the future when that information will be needed (2 Timothy 2:15).
- Work – i.e. apply ourselves in appropriate means of earning our living so that we will be able to eat food later (2 Thess. 3:10).
- Count the cost – i.e. plan ahead concerning our having appropriate resources before we make or commit ourselves to projects (Lk. 14:28-32).
These activities of planning and preparing are not to cause us to be self-sufficient so that we are independent of our Lord or others. They are our part of the process whereby we do what we are able to do and then we wisely rest in our Lord for what is His part of the process.