On Planning to Do Good for Others

One of the key points I am making in my book is that we should not simply do good when a need crosses our path, but that we should proactively make plans for doing good for others.

I bring together the various strands in the Scriptures that teach this, one of which is that evildoers are presented in Scripture as making plans for evil (Satan himself being the chief example — Ephesians 6:11 [note the word “schemes”]). If the wicked create plans for harm, how much more should those who follow the Lord create plans for good.

Here’s something interesting on that. Proverbs 24:9 says: “The devising of folly is sin.” In other words, not only is carrying out plans for harm sin, but the actual planning is itself sin.

Conversely, it stands to reason, then, that making plans for good is itself righteous and good. Carrying out plans that serve others is good, but so also is making those plans in the first place.

That should be an encouragement not only to take initiative and be proactive in devising good things we can do for people; it should also be an encouragement for those who have sought to do good things for others but been hindered in the execution.

Take heart that recognizing the opportunity to serve, along with the planning and intentions and forethought, were themselves good and pleasing to God — even if you weren’t able to execute and make them happen.

  • Paul Marr

    hi again Matt,

    could you comment on how telecommuting/remote working compares to office-based work in terms of loving and serving our neighbors in our vocations?

    the office colleaguue relationships are significantly different, and it’s much more challenging to display the Gospel in those relationships.

    appreciate your thoughts,


  • Matt

    That’s a great question. I am in very much in favor of remote working and, though it changes things, I think it continues to allow good and edifying interaction through email and by phone. I think this can be done well, as long as we understand how to use email effectively — which includes knowing how to be encouraging in all of our correspondence by email.

    One key point there is realizing that email by default comes across as neutral. So if you aren’t deliberate about sounding positive (though without being hokey about it!) you will probably come across as slightly negative and likely discouraging. That’s one of the key points I’d say for remote working contexts.

  • Paul Marr

    thanks Matt; good point about being deliberate to communicate good along with business communications in email and by phone. it remains a challenge to overcome the imitations of human communications without the non-verbals, which account for 55% of communication! but email and phone do send a message and we’re communicating something nonetheless, by how we use these means. Just seems less effective to communicate the character and good of the Gospel by our personal character when limited to electronic, business communications for the most part. Paul