The author of the book ‘God's Plan Feeding 10,000 People,’ is Pastor Jong-chun Kim. He graduated from Seoul National University with a degree in liberal arts, and he also earned graduate degrees from Sin Dae-won Seminary and Yonsei University's Graduate School of Education and Graduate School of Business. Pastor Kim worked at the Korea Trade Association for 11 years and is currently the incumbent pastor at Chung-in church. In his book, Pastor Kim discusses the Christian CEO spirit that individuals planning their faith in the secular world should not overlook. He emphasizes that planning exists in various aspects of life, including global planning, national planning, church planning, family planning, self-planning, future planning, knowledge planning, and more. However, Christian planning is unique and distinctive because it always presupposes a relationship with God. True planning, according to him, always starts with a relationship with God, making Christian life synonymous with planning across all areas. He cites the biblical example of Joseph as a model for excellent planning, highlighting Joseph's success in planning seven years of abundance and seven years of famine in Egypt. He can be considered the pioneer of global planning. The three key points of Christian planning are diligence, wisdom and knowledge, and grace. Diligence is the foundation of planning (Prov. 28:19-20). When diligence is combined with wisdom and knowledge, it becomes the epitome of excellence (24:5). Wisdom and knowledge surpass diligence because of their intrinsic value. However, one cannot attain grace through one's own efforts. The proclamation in Proverbs 4:7 that wisdom is supreme remains silent in the presence of God's grace (21:30-22:1). We must not be lazy but diligently strive to do our best, wisely pursuing knowledge, and clothing our lives with God's grace. If there is one final message and prayer topic for Christians, it is essential to continuously examine the framework of self-planning that encompasses perspectives from God's eternal view, post-death perspectives, and imminent death perspectives. As the pace of change accelerates, consistent and agile self-planning is required (Internet).
Proverbs 16:3 advises us in this way: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” It is true. We should entrust all our actions to God. However, even in entrusting everything to God, we still bear our responsibility. That responsibility is none other than 'our management.' Today, focusing on Acts 19:21-41, I want to receive three lessons on how we should plan ourselves under the title “Our plan.”
First, in order to plan, we must have a clear purpose.
Look at Acts 19:21 - " Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." After completing his ministry in Ephesus amidst God's amazing grace and works, Paul was planning to go to Jerusalem by way of Macedonia and Achaia (Yoo). Why did he plan to go to Jerusalem? What was his purpose? His purpose was to go to Rome and preach the gospel. Rome was a strategic outpost for reaching the ends of the earth, and Paul, after proclaiming the gospel in Rome, wanted to obey Jesus' command to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth (Yoo). With this clear purpose, he planned to first visit Macedonia and Achaia to comfort and encourage the saints before arriving in Jerusalem. Once there, he intended to stay for a while before heading to his final destination, Rome, to preach the gospel. He desired to fulfill Jesus Christ's command to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Here, we need to consider one thing. In the Korean Bible, Acts 19:21 is written as ‘Paul planned to go to Jerusalem,’ but looking at the English NASB translation, which translates the original Greek more closely, it says, "Paul purposed in the spirit to go to Jerusalem." Translating this into Korean, it would mean, 'Paul decided to go to Jerusalem in the spirit.' The meaning of this statement is that Paul, with a clear purpose and specific plan, followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, his purpose and plan were not driven by personal gain or glory but solely to manifest the glory of God. The lesson we need to learn here is to have spiritual sensitivity when setting clear goals and concrete plans. We should pray, expect, and wait for how the Holy Spirit leads us. We need to be cautious about making hasty decisions and taking action too quickly.
Sometimes we hear or say things like, 'Just go ahead with faith unconditionally.' Of course, we should indeed do the Lord's work with faith. However, when it comes to acting in faith, we need to reflect on whether we are truly acting in faith according to what the Lord desires or if we are acting based on our own understanding of 'faith.' Many times, we might rush into action unconditionally, not knowing the Lord's will, and when faced with obstacles, we realize that it might not be the Lord's will, prompting us to seek His will again. We should wait more cautiously, discerning the Lord's will and obediently following it. As an example, we can look at Acts 16:10. When Paul and his companions were striving to preach the gospel in Asia, the Holy Spirit blocked their way, leading them to Macedonia. In the vision, a man from Macedonia stood and pleaded with Paul, saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." Upon hearing this, Paul and his companions 'concluded' or 'made a decision,' as the English versions like NIV or NASB use the term. In other words, the Bible says that Paul and his companions 'concluded' or 'made a decision' that this was the Lord's will for them to go to Macedonia and proclaim the gospel. The word used in the original Greek implies 'making go together,' 'coalescing,' 'coming together as one,' 'uniting,' and 'reaching a conclusion based on mutual agreement' (Word Pictures in the New Testament). In considering the meaning of this word, when Paul and his companions had a vision and prayed with the vision in mind, using the reason God had given each of them, they came to the mutual agreement that it was the Lord's will to go to Macedonia and proclaim the gospel. When Paul and his companions had a vision and prayed with the vision in mind, using the reason God had given each of them, they came to the mutual agreement that it was the Lord's will to go to Macedonia and proclaim the gospel. The persuasion they experienced through the vision was sufficient (being fully persuaded) (Calvin). In setting clear goals and concrete plans to fulfill those goals, we need to cultivate the ability to discern the Lord's will. Only then can our plan be led according to the Lord's will, bringing glory to God. To do this, first, we must not conform to this age but renew our minds and undergo transformation (Rom.12:2). In the midst of spiritual sensitivity, we must discern the doors that the Holy Spirit closes and opens. He is clearly a God who closes one door and opens another. The crucial point is to pray together, discerning whether it is the Lord's will or not, and using the reason God has given us, that is, being filled with the wisdom of God's Word, to understand and fulfill His will. We need to have a clear purpose that aligns with the Lord's will and proceed with specific plans to achieve it.
Second, in order to plan, we need trustworthy helpers.
Look at Acts 19:22 - " And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while." As Paul made plans to go to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to proclaim the gospel, he had helpers among whom were Timothy and Erastus. After sending these two to Macedonia, Paul remained in the Asia region for some time. Paul consistently labored to strengthen the churches established through his ministry, sending beloved disciples to shepherd and support these churches. As an example, Paul sent Timothy and Erastus, two helpers, to Macedonia (v. 22). Often, when we think of Paul, we admire him greatly, but we may not pay much attention to his co-laborers or those who supported him. However, if we examine the concluding sections of Paul's letters, we find that he frequently mentions his fellow workers, helpers, and those who assisted him. One such example is found in Philippians 4:7-17, where Paul speaks about his fellow workers. One recurring word that stands out is the term 'faithful,' repeated several times, such as 'faithful servant' (v. 7), 'faithful and beloved brother' (v. 9). In other words, Paul's co-laborers, helpers, were truly faithful servants. Such faithful servants are trustworthy helpers. Another example is found in Philippians 2:25, where Paul describes Epaphroditus, a fellow worker, as "my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs."
Do you know the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps? It is "A few good men." Translated, it means 'a select few.' While we may not be familiar with their training, one thing we know is that Marines are a 'select few' because they must conduct daring amphibious assaults, and being a large force is impractical. When a small number of soldiers trained for battle stand alongside Jesus' soldiers as helpers, they become a great strength in carrying out the Lord's work. Faithful, loyal, and trustworthy soldiers—these helpers around Paul allowed him to undertake significant work in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and expanding the kingdom of God. Now, consider yourselves. Do you have trustworthy and faithful helpers around you? If so, how many do you have? On the other hand, considering the perspective of being leaders, are we trustworthy helpers for our leaders? In the "7 Laws to Become a True Leader," the sixth law states, ‘Deliver the Message of Consistency of Words and Deeds.’ This law teaches us that to become trustworthy individuals, we must be people of action, delivering what we promise. In other words, setting an example is crucial in gaining trust. When determining if a leader can be trusted, people first listen to what the person says and then observe their actions. When their words and actions align, the judgment is made that they can be trusted. People decide whether to entrust their lives to you based on observing how you live. We all hope that God will provide us with trustworthy helpers in our management endeavors.
Third, in order to plan, we should anticipate considerable challenges.
Look at Acts 19:23 - "About that time there arose a great disturbance concerning the Way." From verse 23 to the last verse, 41, it describes a riot provoked by Demetrius, who could be considered a kind of union leader, during the time when Paul, having sent his faithful helpers Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia, was temporarily staying in Ephesus (Yoo). Why did such a riot occur? This incident is related to a significant transformation initiated by God, stemming from an embarrassing event where seven sons of Sceva, attempting to cast out demons in the name of Jesus, were severely defeated (Yoo). The significance lies in the fact that not only did many believers confess and renounce their magical practices up to that point (v. 18), but also numerous sorcerers who had not believed in the Lord before burned their magic books on a large scale and turned to the Lord (v. 19). As a result of this event, the Ephesians gained a new perspective on idol culture. In other words, they came to realize that the gods they served were man-made idols, not true gods. Consequently, the Ephesians developed a negative attitude toward various idols and objects associated with sorcery, leading them to discard idol-related items and refrain from producing or purchasing such items (Yoo). Professor Sang-seop Yoo remarks, ‘Those who led the Ephesian Artemis idol industry and profited greatly from it could not sit idly by in such a situation. Therefore, they formed a group and stirred up the riot’ (Yoo). Demetrius, who led this riot, was also a silversmith creating silver shrines of Artemis, and when his profits diminished, he gathered fellow craftsmen to incite the riot (v. 24). In his speech before the crowd, Demetrius asserted, "Not only our trade is in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, may even be deposed from her divine majesty" (v. 27). The crowd's reaction is recorded in verses 28-29: "When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: 'Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!' Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together." At that time, Paul, along with his companions (Col. 4:10) Gaius (Acts 20:4) and Aristarchus (20:4, 27:2), who shared in his hardships, intended to enter the theater to face the tribulation, but the disciples prevented them (19:29-30) (Park). Eventually, the town clerk of Ephesus intervened and calmed the crowd, preventing further chaos for the sake of Ephesus' peace and order (vv. 35-41). In short, the cause of this riot, as mentioned in Acts 19:23, was "the Way," or the gospel. Those opposing the gospel, idol-worshipers threatened by the gospel, and people like Demetrius who made a wealthy living from idol-related business incited this riot in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As bearers of the gospel, we should anticipate significant challenges. The reason is that those opposing the gospel will always exist until the Lord returns. Therefore, we do not need to be disheartened or discouraged by adversaries of the gospel. Instead, it could be a testimony that we are indeed proclaiming the gospel. We should not fear anything caused by those who oppose us (Phil. 1:28). The reason is that for the adversaries of the gospel, it is a sign of destruction, but for us, the messengers of the gospel who believe in Jesus, it is a sign of salvation (v. 28). We must take courage in facing tribulations in the world because Jesus has overcome the world (Jn. 16:33).
In our plan, we must have a clear purpose. That purpose is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. We need trustworthy helpers in our plan. To achieve this, we must seek God's guidance. Additionally, in our plan, we should anticipate significant challenges. We should expect persecution and tribulation from those who oppose the gospel. Anticipate without fear, for just as Jesus has overcome the world, we too can boldly engage in spreading the gospel with the assurance of victory.
With a prayerful heart, trusting in the Lord and committing our plan to Him,
(Entrusting our plan to God with faith)