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Read for This Week’s Study: Eccles. 12:1; Gen. 2:15; 1 Tim. 5:8; Col. 3:23, 24; Gen. 39:2–5; Prov. 3:5–8.

This week, the official Sabbath School lesson takes up the subject of being successful in life, of how to plan to be successful in life; a noble enterprise to be sure. The primary text for this week is from the book of Colossians:

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23, 24, NKJV).

It is fair to say that most people want to be “successful” in life. What being successful means is somewhat indefinite but in many minds, it almost always has some connection to money–having more of it than you need, hopefully by a rather wide margin. So up for discussion are ideas and principles that can be adopted or practiced that will enable a person to be successful.

First, we ought to talk about what we mean by “being successful.” A place to start the discussion is to say that a successful person would be one who has attained adulthood and is self-sustaining and self-sufficient. In other words, arriving at a state of not being dependent on others for your immediate needs would be a significant measure of success. This is certainly the hope of every parent!

In a Christian context, we suggest the following:

  1. Begin with the acknowledgment that God is the owner of all things so that, at best, you will be managing assets entrusted to you. This foundational idea is remarkably effective in helping a person to be responsible and careful and disciplined. This is a primary part of seeking the kingdom of God as a first priority.
  2. Recognize that work is a good thing for humans and not only because it is the source of money but also because it creates a lot of well-being and purpose in a person’s life. Notice Paul’s admonition to the Thessalonians in I Thess. 4:11,12 where an idea of being self-sustaining is held up. Bear in mind that even in Eden before sin came, productive activity was given to humans as something beneficial to them. It could be said that engaging in meaningful and beneficial work is a Christian responsibility. It is a major way to become self-supporting. And work as long as you reasonably can.
  3. Get a good education. This education should help you set yourself up for a life’s work and may be either in the professions or the trades. Too often we ignore the trades and the great benefit they provide to humanity. College is not for everyone, but a basic education leading to life proficiency is.
  4. Marry well. This is not to suggest a person has to get married, but it is to say that a good marriage is a very good thing for humans. Google the benefits of marriage and you will discover several pages of them, including a longer and happier life, and more wealth. Married people enjoy what is sometimes known as “spousal support,” the presence and effect and influence of a person who is with you through all the ups and downs of life.
  5. Live a life characterized by integrity. Prov. 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” Christians should be known to be people whose word is good, who are honest and trustworthy, who are not devious or underhanded. And a clear conscience is a very good pillow!
  6. Avoid debt as much as possible and live on less than you earn. Not only will this help you deal with the various exigencies that appear in life, it will also enable you to be generous in giving.
  7. Stay out of trouble with the law. A far as possible, live as a law-abiding citizen. You will save yourself a lot of aggravation and money by always being legal, excepting those cases where the law contravenes conscience, at which point you will have some very hard decisions to make.
  8. Do not neglect to make provisions for eternity in your life while also encouraging others to remember that this world is not our final home.

What other items might be added to this list?

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