Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: I Had Planned
1. What plans did you have for 2019? Reflecting over the year, did those plans represent seeds or blooms, foundations for the future or constructions for the present?
2. What plans from 2019 do you need to let go of? What changes impacted those plans?
3. How will you grieve disappointments and celebrate victories from 2019?
I Had Planned
King David rose to his feet and said, “I had planned to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord … and I made preparations for building.” – 1 Chronicles 28:2 (NRSV)
King David had great plans, but God had other plans. The one thing he wanted most—building the Temple—he had to leave for his son Solomon.
David’s story is a good one for this year’s final days. What plans did you have for 2019? What do you need to let go of?
As the year draws to a close, a prayer by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, written shortly before his assassination in 1980, offers this insight:
“It helps now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.”
“We plant the seeds that one day will grow,” Romero continued. “We lay foundations that will need further development. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning … an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.”
“We may never see the end results,” Romero concluded, “but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.”
Help us step back and take the long view, O God. Thank you for the seeds you’ve helped us plant this year, the foundations you’ve enabled us to lay. Give us the wisdom to let go of other things. Like King David and Archbishop Romero, remind us that we are called to be workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.