Jesus is teaching in Luke 14:28-32 about salvation. He compares yielding all relationships and earthly possessions up to Him with two people who need to be wise planners.
The builder needs to have a plan before he builds, and the king should plan before he sends troops into battle. Jesus is saying that as Christians there will be a cost to discipleship as well. This cost is relinquishing your rights of relationship to others and to your possessions. This does not mean you are to live penniless and alone. Rather, as you turn all things over to Jesus, He changes your heart and gives you a new relationships and teaches you to use those relationships and your possessions for His kingdom. Whatever you turn over to Jesus, He turns back to you in wonderful ways–ways you may never dream but always for your good.
Just as the builder and the king should have a work plan, so should you. Your work plan might include college, learning a trade, trying a new business, or working two jobs for a time to save up for something big. There are long term plans and short term plans. Planning out your garden, or planning a meal would all be short term plans. Deciding on your educational track would be a longer term plan as well as deciding where marriage and children will fit into your life. The important thing is to have a plan. Count the costs..
Every decision you make will limit your later decisions. If you choose to go to medical school and finish six years of training, your choices have been limited to a career in the medical field. You would not be able to get a job as an engineer. If you decide to continue in the work which you are already doing, you limit your opportunities to move. Sometimes the plans are made for you if you get laid off or your company merges and moves to another city. God still has a plan even if the move is not your idea. Trust Him.
Commit each plan to the Lord asking for guidance, then go ahead and plan the best you can. Use the wisdom from Proverbs and the rest of Scripture to make biblical decisions. Sometimes God gives you the freedom to make choices. When a mom asks her child if he/she would like a chocolate chip cookie or an oatmeal cookie, she really doesn’t care which he/she chooses. She will be happy with either choice. In the same way your Heavenly Father gives you choices that please Him. As long as you are not breaking the moral code of the Bible or a direct calling from God, you are free to choose. Using wisdom, talking to biblically wise people, praying, following your heart, looking at your aptitudes and desires should all give you clues to what some of your decisions should be.
Does God have a specific plan for your life? I believe He knows what choices you will make. He promises He will work all things out for your good (Romans 8:28), but He does not have a plan “A” and if you fail to find it, then you are living God’s second best plan for your life. No, you are in a relationship with Christ. As you walk with Him, He will reveal to you if there is something specific you need to do. If not, then you are free to choose within His moral code. Note that in the Bible Abraham, Moses, and others were going about their business and God initiated the conversation leading to change.
1 Timothy 2:2 says, “To pray for those in authority so that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and dignity.”
Here are some practical questions you can ask yourself to help determine a course of action in any decision.
- Does it follow God’s moral code?
- Is it something I have desired to do?
- Does it fit into the pattern of things I have chosen to do in the past and have shown an aptitude for?
- Will it lead me into a deeper relationship with Jesus?
- What are my counselors, mentors, or other Christian leaders’ ideas about this decision?
- Have I prayed earnestly about this and feel free to make this decision?
If all these answers line up, then you are free to plan. Just remember no plan is set in stone and God often takes us down one path to get to a turn off for another direction. But until you feel God pulling you in a different direction, rest in your decision, enjoy the ride, and make sure you have counted the cost.
Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.”
Don’t fret and worry over decisions. Do as Philippians 4:6 says and know the peace of Philippians 4:7.
You can read more about work and decisions, diligence, planning, and God’s promises in Living Gracefully: Practical Proverbs for Women Book 2 by Dara Halydier through the online store at Abidingtruthministry.com.