Succession

prepare_fail

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 57; 145, 1 Kings 1:(1-4) 5-31, Acts 26:1-23, Mark 13:14-27


Succession planning, long a concern of dynastic governments, has been adopted by business as well. No matter how successful someone is, they can’t lead forever. Term limits, promotions, retirement – many factors drive the continual demand for new leadership. If an enterprise has a clear vision of its mission, succession planning is easier to tackle. If its mission is undefined or murky, finding solid candidates for future leadership roles can be especially challenging.

When King David grew old and frail, his son Adonijah began a popular campaign to be the next king. David didn’t know about it, but it angered his wife Bathsheba, who reminded him of his promise to make their son Solomon his successor. Did that promise mean anything, she demanded to know, or was Adonijah for all intents and purposes already king? David affirmed in front of witnesses that Solomon was his choice. Had Bathsheba not been on the ball, things could have gone very differently. David had not planned and it had almost slipped from his control.

Adonijah made the same common assumptions as many people in politics or business: it’s my turn, so I should be next. Succession planning isn’t just about bumping up the next obvious choice. The person who demands advancement most loudly isn’t necessarily the most qualified. Nor is seniority a qualification in and of itself. The choice needs to reflect the mission, or the mission itself may flounder. Less obvious choices may need time for coaching and preparation.

Paul was far from the obvious choice to spread the gospel of Christ, yet his persecution of Christians may have given him a singular insight into communicating with people who weren’t inclined – or were outright hostile – to hearing it.

The truth is plans only get us so far, but how we plan can make a big difference. Do our gifts align with our goals? Do our goals align with the gospel? When the right opportunities to serve God come along, will we be prepared to recognize and nurture them? We succeed not by imposing our own plans, but by preparing to embrace God’s plans.


Comfort: God desires only good for you.

Challenge: Try to stay out of the way of God delivering that good.

Prayer: Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. (Psalm 85:8)

Discussion: In what ways do you think you could plan better?

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