Flexible Planning


Very little brings out as much stress for me as traveling with a family of six. Over the years, travel has brought some of our greatest joys, as well as some of our greatest frustrations. I realize I am way too rigid when it comes to my plans, and because of that, relationships suffered. Thankfully, I’m learning that relationships are much more important than a travel schedule.

  • In what ways have you experienced stress and frustration over altered plans or schedules, at the expense of relationships?


5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia, 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go. 7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost,for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. 10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am. 11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers. 12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.


  1. For what purposes did Paul come to visit the Corinthians (vss. 6-7)? Why did he postpone his trip to Corinth (vss. 8-9)?
  2. Paul had a special relationship with Timothy. How was that highlighted in his instructions regarding Timothy’s treatment?
  3. What appears to have occurred in verse 12 regarding Paul’s interaction with Apollos?
  4. What characteristics can you identify for this section regarding Paul’s view of relationships?
  5. As you mature spiritually, what changes have you experienced in regard to how you value relationship?


Plans always have an effect on people. People, however, are more important than plans. In his plans, Paul valued people. He valued the Corinthians, but also loved the Ephesians and was willing to postpone plans in order to endure spiritual battles for them. He valued Timothy, and wanted to encourage him to use his gifts well. He loved Apollos, and was willing to trust his decisions, even in disagreement. From Paul, we learn that planning is important, as long as we allow flexibility in those plans. God may alter our plans along the way. When he does, will we be sensitive enough to notice?

  • Pray for sensitivity to notice when God suggests a detour. Pray that you can better balance the tension between plans and relationships.