October 8, 2019

Whose Plans?

I’ve always been curious about Ellen White’s comment about this statement Jesus made to the priests and rabbis. The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do (John 5:19 KJV).

Referring to the priests and rabbis, Ellen reveals, “By their sins they had separated themselves from God, and in their pride were moving independently of Him. They felt sufficient in themselves for all things, and realized no need of a higher wisdom to direct their acts. But the Son of God was surrendered to the Father’s will, and dependent upon His power. So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will (Desire of Ages, p. 208). Christ’s example informs us.


So, for all of us who claim to be followers of Christ (and, therefore, ministers of reconciliation), shouldn’t we follow Christ’s example? Could you or I claim full surrender to the Father’s will and can we claim to be totally dependent upon His power? Could you or I honestly make the statement, “I make no plans for myself”?


So often I catch myself running full speed ahead on my own initiative, chasing some “great” plan or idea that is very much “my own” rather than God’s. Like the priests and rabbis, I have felt “sufficient in myself.” I mean, after all, aren’t we supposed to believe in ourselves and exhibit self-confidence? Isn’t that the message of our culture? How often do we as Seventh-day Adventist members and leaders fall into the norms of our culture? How often do we mirror the culture of our national political leaders?

Recently, I’ve been impressed by the leadership of Carmelo Mercado as our prayer team has been preparing for a number of initiatives in preparation for the General Conference Session next summer in Indianapolis. Our diverse team of representatives from each conference has demonstrated a desire to be in line with God’s plans rather than our own. Through prayer and honest conversations with one another, I sense God is leading us into something that is not our own initiative.


In Christ’s time, His people had chosen their own ways. They were not building according to heaven’s pattern. How is it going in your local setting? How are you building your church? Join us in our commitment to follow Christ’s pattern being attentive to His Spirit, guidance and direction.


Would you please join us in the spirit of Christ to pray that we make no plans for ourselves, that we be open to seek and accept God’s plans for us, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will?


Our Lake Union Prayer Conference is scheduled for March 6‒7, 2020, in Plainfield, Ind., in preparation for the General Conference Session. You can get more information and register at: ourunitedcry.org.


Gary Burns is Prayer Ministries coordinator for the Lake Union Conference .