Plan like you’ll live a thousand years or as if you might die in a day–that’s life in the Spirit. How can these two perspectives go together?
It’s good to plan for the long term, because as part of the Body of Christ, what you do to build the Kingdom can leave a legacy for many generations.
But our planning can only go so far. John tells Nicodemus: “The wind blows where it wills … so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Life in the Spirit includes divine direction that is, at times, entirely unexpected. This calls for a certain amount of detachment–being willing to die to our plans in order to receive new direction from God.
I’m sure Barnabas had other plans for his field before he sold it and gave all the proceeds to the Apostles. But this is what we heard about in the Second Chapter of Acts this week — believers who were moved by the Spirit to give everything to support their common mission in Christ.
The Holy Spirit moved these first believers to respond to an unusually urgent need, calling them to live as if each day could be their last. They died to certain personal plans but received a resurrection of what they gave up through the providence of God. Openness to God’s direction enabled these Christians to create a foundation for the Church that has inspired believers for the last two thousand years.
So yes, God wants us to be good stewards and plan for the long term. But sometimes the best long-term planning comes from being open to the short-term direction of the Holy Spirit, as he has a much longer view that we could ever achieve on our own.