Proverbs 16: His Plans or Mine?

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. – Proverbs 16:3

I had just completed my junior year of high school when the words from Proverbs 16:3 stood out to me for the first time. I had set a high goal for myself walking into high school. I wanted to graduate as the class valedictorian. Up to that point in my studies, I had been ranked as number one. Something happened that semester as I didn’t take enough honors classes and I fell to number six. I was disappointed until I read the words from Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

In reading those words, a sense of conviction washed over me. My plans were my plans. And I was going to get there by my own strength. But, at least according to this short verse, success is tied to committing everything to God and doing it for him. Not just my high goals or plans. After all, the proverb begins with a focus on God and not on success for plans. It has a subtle shift for us. We are called to “commit to the Lord” everything. Not just our plans or our hopes. Not just our expectations. “Whatever you do” is to be committed to God first and foremost.

My work, my studies, my family time. God wants it all. Allowing whatever I do to be completely and wholeheartedly committed to God. So the passage challenged me to commit those things to God, rather than to myself, ultimately striving to do my best for God.

What wonderful freedom I found in those words! I just had to pursue God and commit my best to him. The success or failure of whatever I did was rooted in following God, not in my own strength and not in pre-determined goals.

Yet there was an incredible promise that as I committed everything I did and thought to God (including my grades), I would find success in and through him. And success rooted in him would be sweeter than the simple success of accomplishing my goal.

For those who are curious, I didn’t end up graduating as class valedictorian; I graduated salutatorian. I did get to speak at my high school graduation and even challenged my peers to respond to the gospel through my speech.

Proverbs 16:3 has become one of many foundational verses for my life. I choose each day to commit everything I think, say, and do to God. I commit to choose to surrender my work and my plans to God, doing my best as if I were doing it for him. In doing so, I have found incredible success. I pray you will as well!

Father God, I give you my plans today. I don’t want to do anything just for me. I want to commit the work of my hands, the actions I do today and throughout this week, to you. Help me to start with a commitment to you and allow everything I do to come out of that. Help me to do my best as if I am working directly for you. I will give you the credit and glory as you give me success. Help me to dedicate each step, each thought, and each action to you. Whatever I do, I want to do for you and to honor you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

– Dave McPherson

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