Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house. ~Proverbs 24:27
As a little boy around 8 or 9 years of age, I can vividly remember my father driving me to elementary school each day. We lived in East Oakland, but the school I was enrolled in was in West Oakland. It was during that 15 to 20 minute drive that my father instilled and inspired within me the importance of thinking ahead. Those talks taught me to think about the importance of education, what choices to make about career and life, and the importance of being financially prudent. This morning, we are looking at the importance of planning ahead. While we are to walk by faith and not by sight, we are also to think about the future. Prudent planning is completely compatible with the faith life because in Prov. 16:9, we are told that “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
There is the DIRECTIVE in planning ahead.
“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” In Prov. 24, there is a contrast between the evil man and the wise man. The evil man is unscrupulous, dishonest, and manipulative. The evil man is out to get ahead by taking advantage of other people. When we are told, “Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them,” we are admonished to not follow or adopt the evil man’s schemes in our planning. When we see his success, we think, “Well, if it worked for him, it will work for me.” Instead, we are directed to “prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field.” Planning ahead means we develop a well-thought-out plan and commit to working hard and honestly in achieving it. The prudence behind this is to start now, and not put it off.
There is the DISCIPLINE in planning ahead.
Once we develop a plan for the future, we must commit ourselves to its completion. Many people do not accomplish their goals in life because they are not committed to seeing it through each day, each week, and each month. “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom,” Prov. 18:1. Thinking and planning ahead means you need to stick with your plan, and avoid distractions that can get you off track. When Nehemiah committed to rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem, he was tempted to come down off the wall many times. His answer was, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.” We must make our work fit for ourselves in the field. Through discipline, establish a secure foundation, and do not celebrate your success too early. Don’t let weeds and nettles grow in your field. Stay focused on what you must do.
There is the DETERMINATION in planning ahead.
Thinking and planning ahead demands that we have predetermined checkpoints to assess how closely we are on-track or off-track in our goals. It also demands that setbacks and unforeseen events will not discourage us from continuing on. Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Take advantage of your opportunities. Use your waking moments wisely. If you accomplish your goals earlier than expected, then push the bar higher and establish new plans. If a setback pushed you behind, revisit your plan, and determine what you need to do to catch up. The bottom line is to set your eyes on the goal and the plan, and keep working it.
There are the DIVIDENDS in planning ahead.
“…Afterwards build thine house.” The success in thinking ahead is having accomplished what you set out to do! You have proven that God blesses prudent planning. Your field is well-developed, and capable of producing a year-after-year bountiful crop; you are at a place where you can enjoy the fruit of your labor. By the way, planning ahead also includes making sure you are going to heaven when your life here is over.
Do you think ahead? Do you think about how your life can abound as you get older? Follow Solomon’s wise counsel, and prepare!
Have a prudent God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Nehemiah 12-13