… and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and preach and bring people to Christ” – yet you do not know what your outreach will bring. What is your ministry? For you are an assistant to the Lord that appears for a little time and then gets transferred. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will reach out and do this or that mission. As it is you put supreme confidence in your strategies, and all such confidence is arrogance.”
An admittedly all too free paraphrase of James 4:13-16
Providence is the biblical idea that God sees and goes before us in all that we do as Christians. We pastors know this and of course preach it to our flocks. But do we ourselves rest in the reality of it? Not as often as we let on, I suspect. Our activist culture is very impressed with strategies, plans, wealth, wisdom and strength (see Jeremiah 9:23-24). Much “leadership” material, even for pastors, is about what we do, rather than what God does. And the result is harried, hurried, harassed shepherds, leaping frenzied to every perceived need and running on emotional and spiritual “empty” much of the time. But if providence applies to pastoral ministry then at least three convictions follow: