Almost every day we do some kind of planning. There is daily short term planning that considers what we are going to wear, how we will get to where we need to go and how we will accomplish what needs to get done. Sometimes we do more long range planning around where we want to live, what our future job might be or possible destinations for a vacation. Lack of planning can often lead to chaos.
In the Gospel, Jesus points out the importance of planning (Luke 14:25-33). Failure to calculate the cost of building a tower, for example, could result in a tower that is only half built. As his disciples, Jesus has some strong words about the importance of making our relationship with him a priority, saying that we must be willing to renounce whatever might be an obstacle to following him (Luke 14:25-33). In all of our plans, short term or long range, Jesus is to be included. Daily decisions should be made in conjunction with divine consultation by asking questions like, “Lord, what would you have me say?” or “Lord, what would you have me do?”
In making plans, we also need to consider how they will affect our relationships. Sometimes we can be so ambitious in plans for our careers, education, even our recreation, that time for nourishing our relationships is not considered. Over ambitious plans can take a toll on our relationships. It is important to reflect on the balance between the amount of time and energy being spent on our jobs and time and energy spent on our primary relationships. There is no job that is worth losing our marriages, our children or our friendships.
Our plans also need to include care for ourselves. It is important to plan time for rest, time for quiet reflection and time for fun. Self-care is not selfish, it is considerate because the more balanced and well rested we are the better we will be for others. Faith in Jesus does not mean sitting back and waiting for things to happen. It means making plans that place Jesus at the center and care for others and ourselves a priority. Unlike towers that were never completed for lack of planning, these are the plans that lead to fulfilling and completed lives.
Together in faith,
The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector