Open-Handed Planning

Open-Handed Planning

James 4:15 – Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 

A few years ago, our family (which includes my wife and best friend Grace and our five kids) was looking into the idea of possibly moving out of state and starting a new adventure as a family.

I’ve talked before about the open hand vs. the closed hand, especially when it comes to theological issues. This is how we explain our views as a church at Trinity Church in Scottsdale, AZ where I have the honor of being the senior pastor. We have a set of a few key tenets that we believe people must believe to be a Christian. Then, there are many, many other issues that Christians can disagree on and still all love Jesus – things like style of worship, mode of baptism, how you school your children, and so many more.

When it comes to planning, the idea of open handed vs. closed handed is also very important. There are things that you must keep in the closed hand – when we were preparing to make our move, there were a few things I had in the closed hand like that Grace and the kids would be going wherever I went and that I still loved and served Jesus. These were non-negotiables. If we put these things that should be in the closed hand in the open hand, we turn our backs on the things that are most important and relationships that God has for us to maintain.

However, there were a lot of other things that I had to hold in the open hand to be able to follow God’s plan for our family – like what state we would live in, whether we would attend a church or plant a church, what job I would have, and so many more variables. If we stubbornly put these matters in the closed hand when they’re meant to be in the open hand, we can easily stand in the way of what God has for us.

If you are making a plan for your future or an upcoming season, it may be helpful to make a list of things that are in the open hand and those that are in the closed hand. Pray to ask God to help you navigate and decipher before making this list. Pray that God will lead you to His plan and His will for your life, not just bless the plan you’ve created after it’s already made.

Honestly, are you more likely to start your planning (e.g. schedule or budget) in prayer and study seeking God or make your plan and ask God to bless it?

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Mark Driscoll
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