Man Proposes and God Disposes


I’m using that adage in the introduction to my sermon on John 3:1-8.  I imagine Nicodemus preparing for his after sunset meeting with Jesus.  He will call him rabbi, teacher.  He will acknowledge that the signs Jesus is doing indicate that God is with him.  He never gets to what he had planned to say.  Jesus cuts him off.  Nick discovered that man proposes, and God disposes.

I wondered, where did that adage originate.  While at the library yesterday, seeing what I could see, I came across a new edition of U.S. Grant’s memoirs.  I had recently read his new biography.  The first sentence of Grant’s preface is “Man proposes, and God disposes.”  The footnote at the bottom of the page noted that the phrase comes from Thomas a Kempis, early 1400’s work “The imitation of Christ.” That’s another book I haven’t read.  I sure hope there is a huge library in heaven.  It’ll take an eternity to get it all read.

Later I’ll write what I discovered about the wind in John 3:8. It never gets old, even though I do.


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