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March 7, 2022

Tell them, ‘As sure as I am the living God, I take no pleasure from the death of the wicked. I want the wicked to change their ways and live. Turn your life around.’” (Ezekiel 33:11, The Message)

Unless you turn to God, you, too, will die.” (Luke 13:5, The Message).

Troubled companies hire turnaround managers–experts who specialize in rescuing failing companies, and turn them into productive, going concerns.  These experts identify the reasons a company is failing, and implement a long term plan to return the company to solvency.  

God is the Master Turnaround Manager.  He knows how to turn floundering people and organizations into productive people and organizations, and gives us a roadmap in this week’s Scripture texts.[1]

The psalmist asks the Lord for a revival (“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?  Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvation.” (Psalm 85: 6-7).  In verse 8 we are told that God “promises peace to his people, his faithful servants.”  He promises a good harvest to his faithful servants (v. 10-13). He will revive you.  He will revive his people.  Join in the revival effort.  God rewards those who are faithful.

We learn from the Old Testament reading that God appointed Ezekiel to be a watchman over the Israelites—to tell them where they were going wrong, and how to turn their lives around.  He was God’s turnaround delegate, tasked to bring a message of hope to the Israelites.  He tells the people to “Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” (Ezekiel 33:11). He promises that “if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is right and just they will live by doing so” (v. 19).

The first order of business for a turnaround manager is to identify the problems that resulted in the company’s troubles.  Paul identifies some historical problems with worshipping idols and false gods in describing God’s wrath against the Israelites who worshipped the golden calf in the desert (Exodus 32) and Baal (Numbers 25).  But like a good delegate of the Master Turnaround Manager, he gives us hope, noting that “When you are tempted, he [God]will provide a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:1-13).

Jesus, the Master himself, is more direct in his turnaround advice: Repent or perish (Luke 13: 5).   He described two incidents where people were killed to remind us that we will all die someday, no matter what kind of life we live. The first incident involved Galilean pilgrims who were put to death on Pilate’s order.  The other was a construction accident where 18 people were killed. But “not everyone needs to stay dead.” (Note, Life Application Bible, NIV, p. 1832.)  Whether we “stay dead” or go on to live with Jesus after death depends on whether we are sorry for our bad behaviors, habits and activities and want to turn our lives around. (“But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”)  

Another corporate turnaround method is to cut unproductive programs, policies, practices, products, etc. in the business.  Jesus demonstrates this technique in his parable of the fig tree.  He says that an activity that hasn’t produced results within a reasonable time should be eliminated.  Cut it out and try something new.  Replace it with something that will produce positive results.  Cut out the unproductive habits, behaviors, and activities that are bringing you, your family or your church down.  You know what they are (laziness, gossip, idleness, slander, anger, impatience, pride, arrogance, addictions, etc.).  The list is endless.

Turn yourself around.  Turn away from those things that are keeping you from using your God-given potential to be a productive member of his company.  Turn yourself around, and become a turnaround delegate on God’s team.  

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Third Sunday in Lent are Psalm 85; Ezekiel 33:7-20; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Luke 13: 1-9. 

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