Today’s Scripture Selection: Isaiah 32:8

“But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.”

Life takes planning – lots of it.

That is, if you want to be very successful at whatever you set out to do.

Teachers will tell you; organizational experts will tell you; coaches will tell you; your mother will tell you; all down the line – life takes planning.

But that’s only part of it.

We have a choice when it comes to planning.

We can spin our wheels planning how to do things that are mainly about self-gratification.  We can get all involved planning how to be very good at things which, in the grand scheme of things, really don’t matter much.  We can spend hours, days, months, years planning for some things that – once we achieve them – we realize we never really wanted anyway.

Or we can be noble people who make noble plans and live by noble deeds.  We can stand for something worthwhile and meaningful and lasting.

In contrast, the prophet Isaiah says,

“The scoundrel’s methods are wicked; he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just.”

That’s putting it strongly.  And I doubt many of us would own up to the idea that we are scoundrels who spend our days making up evil schemes to hurt anyone – especially someone in need.

Still, the point is a good one.

We can take the high road – the noble road – and plan accordingly or we can choose the lesser way – the one guided by something less than our faith and our calling as people of God.

Which path would you rather spend your life following?

Prayer: Lord, show me how to make my plans align with your highest and noblest ones.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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