Updated: Jan 10
I love a great planner.
I may even have a tendency to stop by the planner/journal section of a store every time I go, just to run my hands over covers, critique the internal pages, and consider that perhaps, this planner might be the one that erases the inevitable 'lay aside' when life movement is intense and there seems no time for pen-to-pad notation.
I've a hybrid system that lessens the drop, namely a digital combo calendar and electronic planner. Yet there is just something about the feel of paper that draws me over and over. Pen and ink leave indelible etches before the eye, which direct neuroreceptors in the brain, causing memory to begin formation.
Pen and ink also have the power to communicate to wide audiences, such as the letters that Paul wrote to the Corinthians to bring about the Big Correction.
Paul had planned out his route to Macedonia with precision. He'd marked his stops, his purpose, and itinerary with great detail before it was discovered that his leadership counsel was needful for the family of believers in Corinth. His counsel was firm, and led to a painful window of time wherein the Corinth family had to make hard decisions and calculated choices. During their decision-window, Paul shifted his travel plans to make room for the adjustment.
Paul later explained his travel changes. As he described it, the considerations in planning weren't flippant, or haphazard. Instead, he couched his thoughtful charting of course in these terms:
"When I was planning to do this, I didn't do so lightly, did I? Or, the things I plan, do I plan according to the flesh - so that it might be with me "yes, yes" and "no, no" at the same time?" 2 Corinthians 1:17 TLV
His words gave me pause, as I read them. "When I was planning ... I didn't do so lightly, did I?"
I read his words on a day that happened to coincide with work I was doing on an upcoming schedule in my new paper planner. A spiritual awareness came alive in me - that of a Holy nudge. Paul's description of the weight he placed upon his movement was worthy of attention.
I reached for, and opened another translation.
"When I revised my itinerary, was I vacillating? Or do I make my plans with unprincipled motives, ready to fly-flop with a "yes" and a "no" in the same breath? Of course not!" 2 Corinthians 1:17 TPT
Do I make my plans with unprincipled motives? A powerful, thought provoking statement, indeed! Jesus words apply here: "Let your yes be yes ad your no be no." Matthew 5:17 KJV
A commitment to yourself or another on a calendar means little, if you're given to change at a whim, or 'something better' comes up. Keeping your word means employing honor: honor of those who have received your commitment - and honor of your own word to yourself. If, at every occasion you are prone to change plans, the basic tenet of being a trustworthy person is eroded within. Proverbs 25:19 GNT declares: Depending on an unreliable person in a crisis is like trying to chew with a loose tooth or walk with a crippled foot.
Paul emphasized that he was not unreliable - on the contrary, he carefully considered the timing of his next visit, in light of the Corinthian crisis. He said:
Now, are you ready for the real reason I didn’t visit you in Corinth? As God is my witness, the only reason I didn’t come was to spare you pain. I was being considerate of you, not indifferent, not manipulative. 2 Corinthians 1:23 MSG
Unprincipled motives are unrestrained impulse actions, or reasons, that house no moral or ethical considerations at the core level. In other words, the reason for doing something lacks moral value, or is corrupt; uninhibited; depraved.
Paul was very principled in his choice of actions. He adapted his calendar and itinerary with a conscience toward the best possible outcome, and his responsibility as a leader appointed to disciple those he had introduced to the King. As an ambassador for the Kingdom, the trait of faithfulness is crucially important. In his first letter to Corinth, he had previously written:
... as Messiah’s helpers and stewards of the mysteries of God ... what is required of stewards is to be found trustworthy. 1 Corinthians 4:2 TLV
The intentional focus Paul employed toward his movement for the Gospel is a strong example as the season of goals, achievements and paper planners is upon us. Crafting a plan means a weighty pause before the King, asking questions of His will, His requirements, and His plan. From a place of honor toward Him, we are to ask Him to appoint our days.
May every etch upon the calendar that pen and ink now make carry with it an awareness of purpose. A commitment on the calendar means fulfillment, as if it were already done. May those who serve the King be present and fulfill their agreements, even if it were to result in personal disadvantage.
Those who dwell daily in the life of Holy Spirit ... make firm commitments and follow through, even at great cost. Psalm 15:4 TPT
In Him ~
Next Week: Principled Motives & The Testimony of Conscience