There are certainly occasions where it makes practical sense to make preparations for the future. However, it is our attitude to this that is important. Our Lord Jesus made it clear in His Sermon on the Mount that we aren’t to worry ourselves about “tomorrow,” that our Heavenly Father knows our needs before we even ask Him, and that He will faithfully provide for us (Matthew 6:25-34). Placing our faith in God for our future needs should give us confidence in His provision for us as well as an open hand for all we meet who are in need.
Look at the great example of this with the widow who fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:9-16) and how God rewarded her for her faithfulness. At the same time, there are other scriptural examples where God clearly advises about planning ahead. In the Old Testament we can see from the dream that Pharaoh had that God wanted Joseph to advise him to prepare for a forthcoming famine to keep the people from starvation (Genesis 41:15-41). In accepting Joseph’s God-given advice, Pharaoh not only saved his own people from starvation, he also saved Joseph’s family, who were the ancestors of the coming Messiah, Jesus.
In the New Testament, when Jesus was sending out His disciples ahead of Him, He told them not to take any provisions with them (Luke 9:3; 10:1-4). And after their return He reminded them of how they were provided for (Luke 22:35). Yet in the following verse, Jesus reverses His advice and tells them to take with them a purse, a bag, and a sword (Luke 22:36). Perhaps He knew they were to face opposition they hadn’t encountered before. He had wisdom and foreknowledge the disciples lacked, and this led Him to give different directions in different circumstances.
Practically speaking, of course it is right and sensible to make preparations for the future. But we must be careful not to place extraordinary confidence in those preparations. Jesus’ parable about the prosperous business man who wanted to build bigger barns for his crops is an example of poor planning. The rich man was looking to his riches for his provision and security (Luke 12:16-21). There was nothing wrong, in principle, with his building bigger barns. Where his attitude was wrong was by placing his confidence in himself, without acknowledging God in his plans. After all, it was to God he needed to be thankful for the increased crops he had, and it was God’s wisdom he would need for how he would spend his wealth. But he never consulted God, and his life was taken before he even had a chance to spend or use what he had hoarded.
The bottom line is that we must seek the wisdom of God in matters of preparation for the future. God promises to grant wisdom to all who seek it (James 1:5), and He never fails to keep His promises. Christians must be wise stewards of what God has provided, setting aside enough for basic needs and investing our money, time and talents in a future eternity that will never fade away (Matthew 6:19-20). When preparing for tomorrow, think “eternity.”