Part 2: Foolish Planning

In our previous post we sought to lay a theological foundation of planning by looking at the original and perfect planner - God himself. His plans span from eternity past to eternity future, and they concern not only his people broadly, but each of his children individually - God’s plans for each of us are comprehensive, inscrutable, and good. 

We will now turn to some practical considerations from Proverbs that will (hopefully!) shape and sharpen us to be planners like God. Today we will examine some examples and warnings on foolish planning. 

In Proverbs, Solomon often contrasts wisdom with folly. This is helpful, because we not only need to know which path to take, but also the path to avoid. Proverbs issues to us solemn warnings against the path of folly, and teases out the consequences of taking her path that we might instead embrace the way of wisdom and blessing. Planning in proverbs is no different. 

The question for us today is: what does the way of foolish planning look like and how can we avoid it?


  In all toil there is profit,
but mere talk tends only to poverty. -Proverbs 14:23 ESV

    The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. -Proverbs 13:4 ESV

Everyone has goals and desires in life: Find a spouse, have children, cultivate friendships, get a better job, make more money, own a home, go on a Hawaiian vacation, etc. If you’re a Christian, you likely also have goals for spiritual growth: Read the Bible in one year, overcome a besetting sin, grow in various areas of godliness, etc. Everyone has goals (even if vague), and everyone desires results, but here’s what Proverbs says: There is a difference between desiring results, and having a plan. All desire with no plan is what Proverbs calls “cravings,” “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied,” (Proverbs 13:4 ESV).

I’ve had the privilege of spending lots of time with single guys over the years, and single Christian guys often have a very clear relational goal - marriage. Yet, when I ask what their plan for marriage is, I have often been met with responses like, “My plan is to find a wife who meets my criteria.” This, however, is not a plan, but a goal.

If all we have are “cravings” for a result but no plan to achieve the result, we may be infected with a bit of “the soul of the sluggard” (Prov. 13:4a). When we recognize this, we need to put off the “soul of the sluggard” and seek to cultivate “the soul of the diligent” (Prov. 13:4b). 

Back to the marriage example - if you are a young man who desires to be married, you cannot just hope a Godly wife who meets all your criteria will appear. Instead, you need a plan, not only for how you are going to find her, but a plan for preparing yourself for marriage. A plan to become the most suitable, capable, Christ-like husband you can be.

Spiritual Growth Requires Fruitful Planning

Perhaps you are a diligent planner when it comes to practical matters like daily tasks, creating a family budget, saving for retirement, organizing your children’s activities, establishing an exercise routine, and planning vacations. These are undoubtedly wise things to plan for, but have you given equal attention to planning for your spiritual health and growth? 

Proverbs teaches us that planning is not just a practical issue, but a spiritual one. If we want to grow spiritually, we’d better plan faithfully. This means planning time for bible reading, prayer time, giving, serving, and community. Of course, life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and plans often get altered and need to be revised, but if we neglect to plan altogether, we are unlikely to achieve the spiritual growth we desire.


Hasty planning often comes as the child of lack of planning. When plans aren’t made well, we end up scrambling when time is short. 

    The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance,
but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. -Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)

Having a clear, Godly plan for life, provides us with clear direction in life. It also provides us with guardrails and guidelines for important decisions and right prioritization. 

To start, it’s helpful to assess and list out your main roles and priorities in life. As Christians, our priorities should look something like this: 1. Christian 2. Spouse (if applicable) 3. Parent (if applicable) 4. Vocation 5. Community, etc. 

Once we’ve listed these out, we can overlay them on our current schedule and activities and ask ourselves some tough questions: Do my current calendar commitments and habits align with our priorities? Does the way I spend my time, money, and energy reflect my values and convictions? We may come to realize that there are changes that need to be made, but by taking the time to clearly map out our priorities, we can now make the right changes, establish proper guardrails, and plan accordingly.

Alternatively, if we fail to thoughtfully consider our priorities and plan in line with them, we’re forced to be reactive instead of proactive, responding to the urgent instead of prioritizing the important, and as a result our plans will be made in haste. 


Many of you reading this who are not naturally planners may be quick to point to Proverbs 27:1 where Solomon tells us “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (ESV). What is he saying here? Is planning in itself a bad thing? No, but there is a real danger in misplaced confidence - putting our trust in the wrong things. As we make plans, we must ask ourselves: are we relying on our own abilities, strength, and wisdom, or are we grounding our confidence in God?

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21, ESV)

When we remember who is ultimately in charge of all plans, we are then able to plan rightly:

-With humility before God, recognizing that we have very little control, and unforeseen changes can arise at any moment.

-With dependence on God, who alone possesses supreme power, control, authority, and dominion over all things. We can rely on him completely in every season of life.

-In submission to God, Lord, help me to heed your instruction in the scriptures to plan wisely and diligently. When my plans get altered or diverted, help me to trust you, follow you, and submit to you.

-With hope in God, who is sovereign, and also good. For those in Christ, we get to call him Father, and as his kids we can have great assurance that his love, goodness, faithfulness, attention, care, and provision is unending.

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