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Sharing Scripture — February 25, 2023

Planning for Success


For use: February 19 – 25, 2023
Texts: Ecclesiastes 12:1; Genesis 2:15; 1 Timothy 5:8; Colossians 3:23, 24; Genesis 39:2-5; Proverbs 3:5-8


It seemed like a good idea at the time. The social upheaval of the pandemic led to “The Great Resignation,” where many employees left their careers to pursue new opportunities. Some of their reasons included feeling a sense of disrespect from their employers, a lack of flexibility when it came to work-from-home options, low pay, vaccine mandates, and a renewed desire to prioritize work-life balance. Many older employees left the workforce permanently through retirement. This then created a worker shortage and more opportunities for career change.

This great resignation, however, has now become “The Great Regret.” Research shows that about 80 percent of those who quit their jobs recently wish they could go back and rethink that choice.

Many discovered that they miss their former co-worker relationships. Nearly 90 percent of those who left their old careers went into a totally new field, thinking that they would like a different line of work. Many of those now realize that they didn’t research this new profession thoroughly enough and now would like to return to their original occupation (the grass really wasn’t greener on the other side of the fence).

It appears that Gen Zers are suffering the most, as 89 percent of those surveyed regret the change. “Gen Zers were most likely to miss working in the office, and Gen Xers missed the work-life balance from their previous jobs the most,” reports Paychex VP Jeff Williams. “Unfortunately, Gen Zers reported the lowest levels of positive mental health and work-life balance.”

Planning for the future today is never more important, as societal changes seem to come at us faster than ever. Fortunately, Scripture gives us some good principles for facing an uncertain future with confidence.

Jesus acknowledged our need for the basics in life in Matthew 6:25-34: food, clothing, shelter, and peace of mind are huge concerns for us when facing the future. The best way to plan for those necessities seems like a paradox—don’t worry about those things at all. Seek God first and foremost, and God will provide all of those needs.

That can also be surprisingly easy to do when you are reduced to nothing to begin with. Joseph didn’t fret much over his material life when he was sold into slavery and subsequently thrown into prison—God was all he had left, anyway. Joseph’s plan for success involved diligently serving God no matter what his circumstances. He couldn’t know that his plan would lead to the Pharaoh’s palace, but by living a life of faithfulness he achieved the greatest success.

The Apostle Paul may have been thinking of Joseph when he wrote in Colossians 3:23-24 that when we work conscientiously for the Lord, God will give us a heavenly reward.


For Reflection


Connecting: Recall a time when your plans were completely derailed. How did you recover from this? Did things ultimately turn out okay for you?

Sharing: Solomon gave his recommendation for temporal success in Proverbs 3:5-10. What does it mean to “trust in the Lord with all your heart”?

  1. Pray for God’s leading, then go out and get to work
  2. Pray for God’s leading, then wait for God to show you what to do next
  3. Pray for God’s providence, then wait for God to provide for all of your needs
  4. Just live your life as normally as possible, acknowledging God in every aspect of your existence
  5. I’ll trust God to take care of my needs just as soon as I actually see God doing something in my life (like answering a prayer once in a while)
  6. Other:

Applying: How would you answer the question “where do you see yourself in five years”? Get together with a group of friends and reflect on your past five years (and possibly have a good laugh over where you saw your life going five years ago!). Share your daydreams about where you would like to see things going during the next five years. What can you do to actually see these dreams fulfilled?

Valuing: What is true success to you? Which is more important to you—material success or personal satisfaction? Where do relationships (both with others and with God) fit into your view of success?


~ Chuck Burkeen


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