Taking a different track to success

“Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it!” Jeremiah 45:5 (NLT)

Any advice against the pursuit of success is wise counsel. But it is seldom understood by those who aspire to it. These prophetic words from the mouth of Jeremiah to his secretary Baruch are not the kind of words an aspiring assistant wants to hear – nor anyone, for that matter. You will not find this verse highlighted in anyone’s Bible with a date written next to it claimed as a promise from God.

Advice like this is counter intuitive to those of us raised in an “anything is possible,” culture. When I hear a 15 year old contestant on American Idol say “This is my dream, I’ve been working toward this all my life!” I realize that “working” and “all my life” are relative terms. And such “dreams” in our culture-of-success mentality beg for an instant gratification not unlike that of winning a lottery.

Baruch was a godly man who shared Jeremiah’s grief over the backslidden state of the nation. He knew of God’s impending judgments on Jerusalem. Jeremiah assured him that simply escaping with his life from the coming disaster was promise enough and a sign of God’s love for him.

But what about Baruch’s dreams, his aspirations? After all, his brother Seraiah had attained an important position in the court of the ruling king. Why couldn’t Baruch have his day in the sun as well? But God’s watchful care for Baruch wanted to spare