Planning with God’s Purpose and Perspective By Dr. Zenet Maramara
Planning and Setting Goals God’s Way
We start a new year by planning and setting goals that we want to accomplish. Then, we create metrics that tell us whether we achieved those goals. Unfortunately, it has not been easy to plan in the last couple of years, much less predict and evaluate results because the continuing pandemic pushes us to live in uncertain times.
Many of us adjusted, flexed, innovated, but some simply folded or took things slow. However, let’s take advantage of this liminal-like period to pause, reflect, and ask questions.
Where do we base our plans and goals? Usually, they are anchored on the big picture—the vision and the mission that we endeavor and strive for to make this place a better world. But how is our work fulfilling our calling as stewards of God? Is the ministry pursuing God’s Kingdom agenda and not building a second kingdom?
Pause and Reflect
As we pause and reflect, consider the integrity of our plans and goals in the economy of God. What is God doing in our midst? What are his intents and purposes for you and your work at such time as this? We cannot simply take it for granted that what we do are the expressed desires of God for the people we serve and for us. Instead, we want to examine whether our plans and goals line up with the intents and purposes of God.
Our Identity and Purpose in Christ
How do you determine whether your plans are aligned with God’s? It starts with acknowledging that God is the owner and controller of all life. We are merely stewards with the responsibility to carry out God’s design and intentions. Begin by knowing who you are in Christ; seek the person and mind of God. This comes only with an intimate relationship with him and devoting time to meditate on his words, listening, confessing, praying, and fasting. A steward who is saturated with God’s word, reflects this in his thinking, planning, and action.
Stewards know who they are and their relationship with God. They are sure of their identity in Christ and seek a deepening relationship with Him to understand and fulfill his desires. This is the first and highest calling of the steward, to seek God and grow in intimacy with him. Our work, ministry, and vocation are secondary callings.
Stewards understand that they are trustees of all things entrusted to them, including their work, calling, and leadership position. That God is the ultimate owner of these demands that the steward discharges the design and desires of the master. In practical terms, our goals and plans are aligned according to the wishes of God.
There is no greater joy than fulfilling the pleasure of the one true and powerful God. It is not something we do out of obligation but with a sense of satisfaction that we are accomplishing the purpose for which we are called. We can pray with the Psalmist to give you the desire of your heart and make your plans succeed (Psalm 20:4). Your desire, as it is aligned with God’s, will surely prosper.
A Model Ministry
Proverbs 16: 3 says,
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
As we say in Global Trust Partners (GTP), let us do our faithful work, and God will take care of the fruitfulness. I have witnessed this happen all the time at GTP, wherein the CEO, staff, board, and regional facilitators faithfully fulfill their work and responsibilities. The results God brings are phenomenal.
GTP has established a global network in all 12 Lausanne regions in two years, with 11 peer accountability groups. Faithful stewards are growing and multiplying through their dedicated work. Furthermore, I have never heard of a start-up ministry that raised generous givers and supporters in 54 countries in Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
Prayer, confession, fasting, and supplication characterize GTP planning and discerning process. Our priorities become plain or pellucid as we seek God’s heart and hand in our life and ministry.
Where Your Treasure Lies
Planning with God’s purposes in perspective means surrendering human pride and humbling ourselves to God. Obeying and trusting God is a top priority for faithful stewards. It will reflect in our plans and actions because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Endeavoring to stay within the center of God’s will and purposes will reap fruitfulness and joy. Sometimes, it may not bring the exact results you expected, but it will build the inner person and bring honor and glory to God. Our prayer as you plan for the year ahead is that God may grant you according to your heart’s desire as you journey as a faithful steward in these tumultuous times.
Dr. Zenet Maramara is the founder/president of Christian Stewardship Association and the chairman of Christians in Conservation, an A Rocha associated project. She was a professor of biblical stewardship at Asian Theological Seminary and former director of the ATS Strategic Leader Development. She organized and directed the MBA in Biblical Stewardship and Christian Management program of ATS.
What is Christian Leadership Alliance?
Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.