Eddie and Sue Arthur

A Bible Passage for Strategic Planners?

This morning’s team devotions came from a passage that is well known, but which poses real challenges for strategic planners… Matthew 6:31-34

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

So what do you do when the whole purpose of your job is to help people think about the future. We felt that the significance for us was that the verses tell us not to worry. Seeking God’s wisdom for what you do is not worrying, and indeed can be an antidote to worry. Faithful planning, that puts God in the process and which holds on to the plans lightly because of the difficulties of human fallibility in the planning process and a fallen world which makes the best laid plans gang agley is, I believe, God honouring.

But, I’m still challenged by these verses – how do you tell a Christian in Darfur that all these things will be given to you as well? It isn’t as simple as all that – God just doesn’t seem to provide for some Christians – so what do we make of these well worn promises? If anyone has any answers, I’d be more than grateful!

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5 Comments on “A Bible Passage for Strategic Planners?

  1. So what do you do when the whole purpose of your job is to help people think about the future.

    Perhaps resign? If your work is fundamentally opposed to the teaching of Jesus, then you should stop doing it. After all, that is the advice you would probably give to a prostitute who became a Christian.

    Now, Eddie, I don’t really think that you should resign from the new job you are taking up. But perhaps you will be in a position to move your organisation away from reliance on strategic plans, which can all too easily become something to trust in, and instead encourage it to rely on God and listen to his day by day guidance. Don’t forget that what you are running is not a secular business.

  2. Very much agree with you Peter. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. I don’t trust in strategic plans (especially the ones that I write), but they do make my job easier…

    Wonder if the clue is in the passage,

    For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

    Motivation seems to have a lot to do with what Jesus taught. Pagans running after things seems to imply that their motivation was food, drink and clothes. We’re called to put Jesus far higher than that. But even Jesus stopped for the odd meal, even a wedding feast with wine from time to time, he just didn’t necessarily see it as the focus of what he did. Feeding the 5,000; the disciples reminded him that the crowd needed to eat.

  4. “rely on God and listen to his day by day guidance”

    Yes, listen to what God says today; but quite often what he says for us to do today will unfluence the future.

    In our mission, for example, we are revising our reserves policy, and moving monies on our balance sheet, in the light of a “word” (reminder) about being reliant on God. The word wasn’t “give all your money away immediately”, but it will release some funds which we had been stewarding for future contingencies.

  5. Two thoughts (which are so late that it probably won’t help any!)

    1. Someone once said to me “Work like you make the difference and pray like God does.” Not sure that is totally right but I’ve found it a good rule of thumb.

    2. Is there any difference to running a secular organisation to a Christian one. I am finding that dividing the sacred and secular is one of the most unhelpful things in the church. So should we apply different principles to different types of organisations?

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