Not every plan is a good one. Heaven knows I have had a good few which just didn't pan out the way I'd hoped! More than once I have had to go back to square one and start again, not because I didn't have what I believed to be "good plans", but because my plans didn't factor in something along the way. At times, I lay in bed awake at night and think of ways I could make something better. I have limited space to create a workshop space for myself without building another free-standing shed in the back yard. Last night was one of those nights I was laying there trying to think of ways to keep storage in the garage, but also give myself some surface space to work on larger projects. I was thinking of a "Murphy style" fold out work space in place of a couple of cabinet doors which exist on some of the storage cabinets I have right now. It would give me surface space, fold up easily to be out of the way, and could double as doors over that cabinet. Now I just have to figure out the leg supports and I might actually have a good plan! This plan didn't come easily, nor with all the "parts" I needed in order to make it actually work. But...it is developing and just like other things in life, what we have to work on a little harder, wait a little longer for all the answers to be evident, and let time bring some of the solutions through other means, it might end up being the way I imagined, or totally "morph" into something quite different.
Life doesn't always let us plan out each and every step, seeing them all come to fruition as we imagined them. Sometimes the plans need a little "morphing" in order to be as they really should be. One thing is for sure, when our plans are left in the hands of Jesus we stand a much better chance of seeing the things we need to bring those plans to fruition "set in order" as they should be. In the above passage, one of the key elements is the attitude we maintain while we are setting about to see our plans worked out. We are to be in service to Jesus, doing all we do in a way which honors him, and in turn, he will set in order the things which need to come together within our plans. The truth is that when we bring our plans to him, listen carefully when he says, "Not that way, but this way," then we will find ourselves in the best position to receive his assistance with those plans! I cannot tell you just how many times I got this a little bit backwards - bringing him my plans only when they didn't work out the way I hoped they would. Get things in the right order and it usually manages to kind of sort itself out, doesn't it?
What does it mean to do things so that we are "of service" to Jesus in them? I think it has to do with the attitude behind doing whatever it is we are doing. Success or failure is often very closely linked to our attitude - pride goes before that fall, doesn't it? As we set out on any venture, God's blessing on that venture is really the key thing we want to obtain. None of us wants to "step out" in just our own path and purpose - relying solely upon the flapping of our arms to keep us afloat when we realize we don't have a parachute! Yet, we do this all the time - stepping into some pretty big messes just because our attitude behind what we were doing was a little too self-focused, or self-serving. In turn, when we seem to hit roadblocks, or stumble in some mess of a hole in the path we are on, we find ourselves turning to God and asking him why he didn't bless our venture! It is like we think God should just bless our mess just because we thought it was a good idea. Get things in the right order, keep the right attitude while we await all the pieces to come together as they should, and we usually see a different outcome!
Some take this passage to mean they can do anything they want to and God will bless it just because they are doing it "in the name of Jesus". Think again! God doesn't bless it just because we ask him to - sometimes he has to set those plans straight before we even start them, or keep us from starting them all together. Just sayin!