Thursday, July 3, 2014

Moving from Planning to Action

I once worked with a fellow that was very careful in his planning. He tried to think of every possible outcome for any situation and prepare for it. While I commend him for his thoroughness, to be honest, it often took him so long to prepare that opportunities passed and he never got to do much of what he wanted to do. I remember one very difficult conversation I had with him about a project he had promised to support. Unfortunately, by the time he had done all the research and covered every possible scenario, it was too late to act and we had to cancel the project. I was pretty frustrated with him and have often wondered if his thoroughness was because he is a careful planner, or simply because he lacks faith to trust God if things do not work out as he had hoped.

I am reminded of what the prophet Isaiah asked: “Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground? When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cumin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and emmer as the border? For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him. This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:24-29). The obvious answer to Isaiah’s rhetorical question is NO. The person who plows the ground does not just keep plowing continually. At some point he sows the seed so that he can reap a harvest. Isaiah points out that God helps a person know when to move from the preparation stage to the sowing stage. God is an excellent counselor and gives us wisdom about such things. We must learn to listen to His voice and move forward in faith.

Even after the farmer sows his seed, he does not know exactly what will happen. Will it rain too much? Will it rain too little? Will a swarm of locusts come and eat the plants before they can be harvested? Will a hailstorm destroy the crop? The possibilities are many. Though we can be prepared for some, there is no way to prepare for everything. At some point, we plant the seed and then prayerfully wait to see what happens.

Such is true about all of life, not just farming. Whether preparing for a career or marriage or starting a new business, at some point, we must move past planning and take action. We trust God to help us know when. We also must trust Him to give us wisdom if something unforeseen happens along the way. After all, that is what faith is all about.


Dr. Terry W. Dorsett is a church planter in New England. He is a happy husband, proud father, giggling grandfather, thankful cancer survivor, and the author of numerous books aimed at helping small churches become healthier and individual Christians grow in their faith. You can find his books at:

1 comment:

  1. Here is a post on a similar topic: