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Apr 20

Develop Multiple Plans for an Unpredictable Week

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Recently I received a summons for jury duty stating, “You are hereby commanded that, laying aside all excuses, you appear at the court room of said District court . . .” The term of service was one week. Jury duty did not fit with my schedule, however; I had little choice but to show up.

I started to ask the Lord to release me, but then I felt a better prayer was “Lord, you know my schedule. You know what I need to do. If I need to be part of a jury as part of your plan to free the innocent or convict the guilty, then place me on a jury; otherwise; please release me.”


I understood one of three things would happen that week. First, cases could be settled or postponed eliminating my need to appear. However, I would not know if I would be excused until the day before. The second option was that I would be asked to show up and wait until sent home or placed on a jury. The third possibility was that I could be assigned a case that would place me in court all week.

Each scenario required a different plan. Often, our future is uncertain as James wrote, “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone.” (James 4:15, NLT)

Plan A assumed I would serve on a jury the first day. I started by advising clients and others of my jury duty possibility stating that I would not be available for contact or to complete some tasks.

I also planned to adjust my morning schedule by starting thirty minutes earlier at 5:30 a.m., giving me 2 ½ hours to work before departing for court at 8:00 a.m. Additionally, I planned to work after 5:00 p.m. when I would be released from duty. While this would have been a demanding schedule, such is life at times.

I designed plan B for the possibility that I would show up at the courthouse but would not be assigned a case. I planned work I could do with my phone and iPad while waiting. This included e-mail responses, some writing, and phone follow-up. I transferred several files to my iPad so I would have information available. My plan B would utilize what time I had available rather than wasting the time.

Plan C was the work I could do if I was excused. Because of the possibility of service, I scheduled no appointments during the day. Therefore, I made a list of people I could contact to meet in the event of being released. As soon as I knew I was excused on Monday, I would start connecting by phone or e-mail. I wanted to avoid the possibility of thinking that I could just sit back and have an easy week if I was excused from jury duty. I wanted to follow Paul’s example to “Make the most of every opportunity.”  Ephesians 5:16a, NLT)

In this instance, I called in and learned my service was not needed that week and went to plan C.

When we know variable events will occur or that a circumstance could change with little or no control on our part, better to make several plans for different possibilities. You will be prepared to implement the one needed at the time. Then, as Paul instructed, you will make the most of your time.

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