Read 1 Corinthians 16:5-9
5 I am coming to visit you after I have been to Macedonia, for I am planning to travel through Macedonia. 6 Perhaps I will stay awhile with you, possibly all winter, and then you can send me on my way to my next destination. 7 This time I don’t want to make just a short visit and then go right on. I want to come and stay awhile, if the Lord will let me. 8 In the meantime, I will be staying here at Ephesus until the Festival of Pentecost. 9 There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me. (NLT)
Many of us would be lost without our diaries—paper or electronic versions. We make our plans, we schedule our events, we avoid misunderstandings and duplications. The Apostle Paul had no such diaries but he still made plans. From this passage we can learn something about how we might plan our days.
Paul is always aware that despite all his planning God may have other ideas. He is not one to manage his life in such a way that God doesn’t get a look in. He is not one to set his plans in concrete and then ask God to bless them. Then again, he does plan ahead. He figures that if God has given him a brain he best use it!
Linked to this, his plans are not based on narrowly selfish considerations. He wants to serve Jesus and others not just himself. We also note that he is not trying to avoid difficult situations. His present location in Ephesus meant many great gospel opportunities but also much opposition. Planning was not his way of avoiding tough circumstances.
One other thing: we know from other letters that his plans didn’t work out the way he thought they might. But this didn’t mean that planning was wrong. We have our plans, God might have others. The essence of faith is not that we don’t make plans, but that we put them at the disposal of God who might have other, better plans.