A HEART ATTITUDE WHEN PLANS CHANGE
“For I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me…“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.” (1Corinthians 16:7—9…13—14)
These two short verses are packed with a strong exhortation for the believers in Corinth. Paul appealed to the believers in Corinth to pray for him as he spent time with Ephesus. Paul planned to be with the Corinthian believers, but his plans changed. Plans changed from going to Corinth instead to staying in Ephesus. Paul sensed a GREAT DOOR FOR EFFECTIVE WORK HAS OPENED TO ME, and many oppose me. It’s interesting that Paul spoke about the GREAT DOOR FOR EFFECTIVE WORK OPENED UP TO HIM, and YET, many oppose him.
Plans changed can cause frustration and disappointment. Plans changed can affect relationships. Sometimes plans close the door to planned opportunities so they can discover new opportunities. Not everything will pan out the way we plan it and hope for. Paul has to change plans to accommodate an excellent door for good work that awaits him in Ephesus.
Every open door is not trouble-free. Troubles and problems always accompany every opportunity. Though an open door for practical work has opened up to Paul, his opportunities had people who were not happy with him, who opposed him and were not helpful with the opportunities. Sometimes people have a misconception about open doors and opportunities that comes their way. Opportunities come with challenges that demand responsibility. Opportunities are never a free ticket to the desired end and outcomes.
Thus, Paul shares some encouragement when plans don’t pan out. Be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong and do everything in love. They are not to let the change of plans affect them. When things don’t work out as planned, the best attitude is to guard our hearts against negativism and complaining. We also must stand in faith that it will work out. We must be courageous and strong in the face of changes that comes our way because of changed plans. And most of all, let everything we do be done in love. Be kind, courteous, respectful, and understanding with things don’t go as planned with others.
I confess that sometimes I am not good with plan change. Sometimes I grumbled and complained—a great reminder from Paul to watch my attitude and heart. I will work on my attitude to be on guard daily, to stand firm in the faith, to be courageous and strong, and to be loving and understanding when plans change, which affects my other plans.
Father, please teach me how to be on guard with my attitude when plans change. Please help me to be understanding and loving when faced with unfulfilled plans. Help me always to know that sometimes plans are changed for better purposes. Please teach me how to be flexible and willing to trust you when plans change without warning. I look to and trust you even if my plans don’t pan out the way I desire them. I pray all these in Jesus’ name, Amen!