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Dear alumni

Dr. Thomas J. Egger photo

Greetings from Concordia Seminary in the name of Jesus, who has gracious plans for each of us! Here on campus we are just jumping into our spring semester, which began Jan. 31. The start of a new academic term is always exciting as students and professors alike start into new courses with a fresh wind of curiosity and commitment. Personally, I will be teaching an elective Master of Divinity (M.Div.) course on Genesis 1–11. I’ve spent time over the last month planning it out, and I’m really looking forward to it.

As the Christmas season has turned to Epiphany with Lent around the corner, as your family life and work tasks constantly enter new seasons and new challenges, I’m sure you have been planning things out as well. Planning, planning, planning. Whether you are a “planner” or not — in terms of personality — we all do some planning.

Prov. 16:9 reads, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

I read this as a warning and a rebuke. Yes, make your plans, Tom. But remember you don’t run the world. You don’t run the Seminary. You don’t run your home. You don’t even run your own health or body.

But I also read this as a promise and reassurance. Yes, make your plans, Tom. And remember that God’s tender care for you, your family, His church, His world, will be at work. His grace-filled purposes will prevail. Make your plans and rejoice to remember Who it is determining the actual outcome and course of events.

So, we pray for wisdom, and we make our plans. We attach “if God wills it” to our expectations. And we move forward in Christian confidence, knowing there will be all kinds of twists, turns and surprises along the way, but that Christ Himself is reigning over all things for the good of His people.

The Lord guide your planning and your plodding forward, with joy in Christ, knowing that God Himself will establish your steps!

Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing,
A cheerful trust maintain;
For God, the source of everything,
Your portion shall remain.

His wisdom never plans in vain
Nor falters nor mistakes.
All that His counsels may ordain
A blessed ending makes.

(Paul Gerhardt, LSB 737:1, 6)

Every blessing in Christ,

Dr. Thomas J. Egger