Creating a Spiritual Work Plan

Creating a Spiritual Work Plan
Al Pirozzoli
 BEFORE READING: This plan is practical and actionable for men, women, and young adults as well. If you are planning a business, want to be promoted, seeking to get a better job, or revitalizing the work you currently do, looking for new ideas, this plan will work for you.
Over the years, I have been honored to coach and council many, many men and women regarding work, career, job issues, self-esteem, lost confidence, various business issues and similar topics. In over three decades in ministry, I found something quite interesting. People in difficult work situations did not have any specific plan on what to do about it. Yes, they want to get a job or launch a business, or they have lost a good job, but there is no actual plan to work out. I’m not referring only to creating a business plan, rather, and more importantly, a spiritual work plan. This is not a fast-read document nor is its application. It requires prayer, thought and fasting—which will return answers and direction to you.
Almost to the person, I observed a pattern. When individuals are out of work for any significant time they imperceptibly go into a form of paralysis. The first stage is shock, then anger, then high motivation, then networking and if this does not result in a job a whole new string of stages ensues. Self-doubt, loss of confidence, lack of value, loss of identity and embarrassment. The next stage is paralysis. They no longer know what to do and often give up. They place themselves at the mercy of the situation. An elephant of discouragement sits down squarely on his chest and pins him down.
There is very little I can think of that would be more devastating to a bread-winner than being caught in these situations. When I meet with them, I pose a few questions:
 “Do you have a work plan to move you forward that is based in a spiritual strategy?”
“Do you have a work plan you can offer God to help you get where you want to go?”
“Do you think biblical principles can help you in this difficult time?”
The responses are varied but almost no one answers in the affirmative. Paralysis is devastating. It brings doubt even to one’s relationship with God. I offer a spiritual plan workbook to remdey this issue, outlined in this document.
A written plan gives you something tangible to look at (much like a vision or mission). Having a plan/vision in writing helps drive commitment which far more effective than motivation alone. Motivation may last a few days or weeks but cannot be sustained. Commitment changes all that and focuses actions. It’s a fact that just about anything we do fares much better if it is written down. Writing down a plan makes it conscious and clear and helps weed out unproductive thinking and actions.
Note the interaction in the book of Habakkuk 2:1-3
“I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved.”
Then the LORD answered me and said, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run.”
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail though it tarries, wait for it…”
The verse is often misunderstood. It’s that the runner may run, without making any stop, because the vision is written in such large letters. The runner being able to read it as he was running; no need to stop his pace or stand to read because it is so clearly inscribed on tablets. And what tablets are more visible than those written in your heart? The tablet you write on is in your mind and heart.
It’s vital that your plan compels you to run toward something you want and not merely run away from where you are, otherwise, you will likely not make the finish line. Further, your plan must align with and support what God is doing on earth (which is presented in this paper)..
The purpose of this workbook is to assist you to:
- Clarify your intentions/needs for your work life situation.
- Examine yourself, as Paul encourages us. 2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test.
- Detail the positive results you have achieved in using your talents and experience in past situations.
- Submit your plan and needed resources to God.
-Explain what God’s investment in your plan will do to support his mission on earth.
Scripture bears out the logic of presenting what you hope to achieve through your giftedness, in the marketplace; all in accord with God’s primary mission on earth.
God as Investor
Many years ago, when I started out in business, I was in a position to make my first investment in stock ownership. I found a fast-growing company I decided would be a good investment. Something quite interesting happened the moment I mailed my check. I became amazingly interested in the pharmaceutical industry. My focus shot toward that industry and company and its competitors. Annual reports, quarterly reports, news articles, in fact every bit of data I could find on that company and industry became ongoing input (there was no internet then.) I wrote letters to the CEO and the Board. I watched competitors, medical categories, trends, new discoveries, and spoke with my stockbroker every two weeks.
Because I made an investment in that company, I wanted to do whatever I could to be aware of how they were doing. Investors expect a return on their investment. I do not believe it is inappropriate to approach God as an investor. He has invested his only begotten son in humanity. Why would he not expect a return from those he has redeemed?
How often have you thought about God as an investor? To do so can transform your work life and much more. A business I owned at one time had an investor. When I wanted to expand, I went to see him and presented my growth plan detailing why I felt this was needed, why I was confident it would work, what resources I needed from him and what his return would be. Perfectly obvious and straight forward and makes sense. Although the focus of this document is work and work-related issues, whatever you are dealing with in a given situation, you should consider presenting a spiritual plan to God. This process is intended to help you with that.
Creating Your Spiritual Plan
Let’s start with God’s mission, he does have one. It’s found in Numbers 14:21: “Surely as I live, says the Lord, all the earth will be filled with my glory.” The kingdom, the church, the believers are all here to contribute to this intention.
The word glory in this passage means presence. God is going to fill the earth with his presence. This is not going to be achieved by spreading rays of light breaking through trees, but by human beings who are “in Christ.” In other words God wants to fill the earth with believers and that requires preaching the Gospel and making disciples.
God initiated this mission with Adam and Eve and regenerated it through Jesus, after they fell from grace. He became the Second Adam. Jesus’ death and resurrection made us new creatures, outfitted to continue this extraordinary mission. This is where God has made his investment. Therefore, we must align ourselves with it. How amazing that you and I have been invited to participate in the global/cosmic mission of God; a privilege and an opportunity that gives each of us meaning, purpose and passion.
God Gifted You for His Mission
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”   1 Peter 4:10
“Every good thing given, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”   James 1:17
“Your gifts will make a way for you and bring you before great men.”   Proverbs 18:16
“He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.”   Exodus 35:35
These and many other verses show work as God’s idea and its vital importance. You might want to saturate in prayer with such verses.
There are a series of assignments you should commit to complete in order to create a spiritual work plan.
In most cases when I work with men in this capacity, they are in one or more phases. There are many such as: discouragement, anger, frustration, disillusionment, unforgiveness, given up, don’t care anymore, fear, isolation from friends and even family, to mention a few. Any of these become barriers to moving forward. Because we are all individuals and our relationships with God are at varied stages, I urge you to start this plan by spending time with the Lord and express what you are feeling.
Be honest because he already knows you intimately. This will be deeply therapeutic, and it will, if you are open, become a place for the Lord to bring healing, and that is key because it leads directly to a new expectation and faith which you (all of us) require beyond all else to move into what the Lord has in mind for you. You are not abandoned nor alone. Secondly, if you have another man who is strong in faith with God, that you can trust completely to be your sounding board as you go through the plan, recruit him. This person will hold you accountable as you work things through. Once you have done so, begin working on the plan. The following assignments are provided as a guide. You may modify them as you feel impressed by the Lord.
Assignment: #1
In your current work situation, are you/were you giving it your very best? “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Col 3: 23-24)
  • What areas, if any, do you feel need improvement?
  • What do you think your co-workers think of you?
  • What do you think of them?
  • Do your interactions with co-workers need to be improved?
What do you feel the Lord thinks about these issues? If you have been honest about these questions, pray to God for guidance to improve where it needs to be done.
  • List your gifts (natural talents) and the times they were functioning well in what you did.
  • When did they make a difference for others in your work and in other scenarios?
  • How have your gifts made positive results happen for you and others?
  • How do you feel when you are engaging your God-given gifts?
  • How did you feel when you experienced these results?
  • Have you truly appreciated these powerful gifts God imprinted in you?
  • When was the last time you were at your best?

  • If you think back over your work experience, did you include God in your daily work, ask for his guidance, work as unto him and not men?

You can answer these questions in as many pages as needed. What’s important here is to write/review the successes you have achieved by applying your gifts in the world. This builds confidence and helps with direction. Then share this with the person who is your sounding board and see what he thinks about it for feedback to consider.
“Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth…” 1 Chron. 6:12
Consider: Why would God give you gifts and not expect you to apply them, grow in them; and bring solutions to your areas of influence through them? (R.O.I)?
Assignment: #2
Forgiveness is the place to ponder now. Most of us have made decisions that were not wise. Our motives may have been all wrong and led us to some grave difficulty. We may have misused the giftedness God imprinted in us, or have disregarded those gifts, or have not appreciated them. It could have been a series of mistakes or outside circumstances that caused work issues. Or there may be something in the past that is even more serious.
Whatever the case: bring these situations to God and through the grace-filled work of Jesus, ask for forgiveness. Then if there are any people you have not forgiven from the past, forgive them. Christ has forgiven you therefore you forgive others, and you must forgive yourself as well. No matter how exceptional your plan turns out, without the process of forgiveness it will have very little divine power behind it.
Assignment: #3
Write this out:
  • What is your objective: 
  • What are you seeking to accomplish? A job, what kind in detail?  
  • A better job and what that entails? 
  • A business opportunity, describe in detail?  
  • A better opportunity in your job? 
  • Starting a new business?
  • Dealing with a difficult boss or with coworkers?  
  • Solving a business or work matter?
Whatever it is, write it out after careful forethought and prayer. Be as clear and as detailed as you can. You must write it out.
Assignment # 4
Look at Assignment 3 and explain why God should consider investing in this with you?
  • How does it support Numbers 14:21?
  • What benefits accrue to His kingdom?
  • How will it bring prominence and presence to Jesus Christ?
  • What benefit will it bring other people?
  • How will it impact you?
  • God has already invested heavily in you— how are you going to invest in his plan and mission?
Reconsider your commitment and dedication to do this...are you sure you want to go forward and ask for God’s resources?
Assignment # 5
The Presentation:
Now present this plan to God in a prayerful way. It is best to read it aloud to him. You decide but here is a suggestion. Read the plan three times a day on the first day: morning, noon, and prior to going to bed.  Present the plan to God in prayer. That is, read it aloud to him in a meaningful, prayerful way.
For the first week, I strongly suggest you do this at least three times a day. Ask God to consider your plan and to help you correct it to his liking. Listen and remain alert and he will impress you on what to change, add, or any other input. God has no problem communicating with us.
Once this takes place. Modify the plan. Then go back to God again...with your own sense of how often per day and number of days. But also, be sure to read it to yourself and saturate in it. Meanwhile conduct yourself in gratefulness, appreciation and faith and hope. Keep in mind that faith and hope require action. Begin working on those factors that will move you toward the goal and be expectant while waiting on God. Consider what you can do to create the positive results you promised God even while you are waiting for the resources.
Phil.4:6—Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Assignment # 6
Find scriptures that support your spirit, and build your faith, expectation and meditate on them constantly. Saturate on these verses. This is your storehouse of power. Keep in mind that God’s Word is not merely vocal sounds we speak or simply words written on paper. The Word of God is“alive.” The root word being “Bios” which means life!
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
      Here you have the absolute in divine power.
Do not be discouraged. Do not give up.
1 Chronicles 28:20
“David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.”
Nehemiah 6:9  “They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed. But I prayed, now strengthen my hands.”
Acts 20:35  “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Colossians 3: 23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not to men.”
You may need to adjust the plan as you sense God’s input in the inner voice of your heart. This could take place in an instant or the process may take time. The key is that you no longer remain paralyzed with uncertainty, and you gain a strong sense of direction to give you momentum and expectation. The plan must remain on your mind daily. Speak to yourself and to God about your expectation for the plan to become reality.
This is absolutely critical, meditate on and repeat the following verse as often as you can to build belief and true expectation.  Mark 11:24   Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
As you better understand and realize that you are intended to work within God’s mission, Numbers 14:21, you start thinking in a larger scope and see that your work and giftedness are of great value to God, his plan, and to others. You can make a difference in your area of influence and then out to the gain meaning and purpose. As you walk into new opportunities always evaluate what is being done by asking… “Is there any way that what I am doing can somehow contribute to the global mission of God?”
One more thing: as soon as you can, begin to encourage, help and uplift others. You will experience more mental and spiritual freedom by doing what Jesus does...bring people to understand his forgiving and uplifting gift.
Meditate on key verses and ask God to fortify your trust so you can actually live liberated. The vital point here is “TRUST” in God in your situation. He promises to meet our needs as we place his interest first. Pay particular attention to this verse in the way most Christians express it.
How offer have you heard believers and pastors proclaim,
“My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Wow. How amazing and true, whether it’s your work or other need but, that is not the whole verse. Yes, God will supply all your needs when you do what the entire says and notice the underlining. You do something “Give,” and God does something, “Provide.” The verse does not simply say that God will supply all your needs. It’s usually taken out of context that way.
Phil 4: 15-20
You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Additional Affirming Verses
Matthew 6
 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
You and I can live like this. How can I make that claim? Simple: Why would Jesus tell us to do something if we couldn’t do it? If he says, do and I can do it. It’s all about making a decision!
How many people will put this effort in? I cannot say, but it takes work. It requires commitment. The process is biblical and powerful but only if you do the work.
Our daily work is not a burdensome punishment for sin, but rather an embedded nature driven by the need to achieve. God wants the planet filled with his people, his ways and thoughts and likeness. People are “driven” to achieve in that mission. Work is also part of God’s nature. God works. We work. God loves the world through his work. We love others through our work. Work is in fact, a sacred trust!
Key Point to understand: Prior to the fall, Adam never worked out of need since his every need was provided. Love was the only reason to work. The Genesis record informs us that he tilled the ground, named animals, and essentially began to discover and manage God’s resources.
“The Lord God took the man and settled him in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Gen 2:15).
Frankly the project was so immense that God had to provide him with help in the form of Eve. That said, it would be truly wonderful and helpful to share this plan with your wife and have her support and insights. The calling from God to work, cultivate and care for the garden, was and is part of God’s mystery of generous, creative, solution-bearing love. Adam and Eve explored wondrous creativity and broke thorough unimaginable boundaries to catch a glimpse of true holiness and purity in an unrestrained form. They were that close to it.
Work began as a sacred trust due to the fact that it was ordained by God and was fully in action before the fall of man. Work did not come into being after the fall. But many people think that way. This is a key point to keep in mind. In the aftermath of the fall, the process of work became more cumbersome. Then in a post fallen world, Jesus came to re-bind us to God and his work and excellence in work’s intention. Excellence in work is more than executing your skills to the utmost. It goes to the intention of the work: serving God, self and others.
Our gifted work provides opportunities to declare the glory of God by the care we  take in serving our giftedness to others just as the Master Worker has done for us. Gifted work functioning in the calling, in the Numbers 14 mission, as an unmerited gift, is effective for our growth and on-going conversion as followers of Jesus and is truly a grace contributing to our sanctification. In case you are unaware of it, St. Francis was well versed on the purpose of work and spoke much about it. In The Rule of St. Francis, 1223 he wrote to his friars:
“Those brothers, to whom the Lord has given the grace of working, should do
their work faithfully...”
St. Francis knew that all should work. Those that could work but chose not to, were, in effect, stealing from those that did work. The following story deals with the brother who never worked:
...and yet [he] ate considerably more than others at table. When the Saint Francis
observed that he was a friend of the belly, one who shared the fruits without
sharing the labor, he once said to him: “Go your way, brother for you want
to eat the sweat of your brothers and to do nothing in God’s work. You are like
brother drone who wants to be first to eat the honey, though he does not do the
work of the bees.”
Francis was not one to mince words.
Jesus conferred an eminent dignity on labor by working as carpenter. Later in his ministry he never felt uncomfortable or embarrassed when they referred to him as the “carpenter’s son.” He didn’t correct them when this was expressed.  Jesus held a clear picture of work and its relationship to the Numbers14 mission. So then, you and I must do the same.
“My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working” (Jn. 5:16).
In fact, work is a sacred trust. We bring glory to God by working industriously, demonstrating what He is like, and serving others by cooperating with God to meet their needs. In serving others, we serve God. And that’s why it matters so greatly to be aware of what we do, how we do it, where we do it, when we do it and why we do it.
Closing note. If you are in ministry, chaplaincy or otherwise, it can become discouraging at times. Jesus said something that should give us an unstoppable energy and compelling fortitude:
Matt. 9:35-38
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
The world in our area of influence is hurting. God’s kingdom business will never have a shortage of customers, so to speak. There are needs everywhere and Jesus, in telling us this also makes the urging: …Lord of the harvest send out workers into your harvest. That is, you and me. We are those sent out to demonstrate the compassion of Christ and his power. We are to bring in others.  Jesus tells us there is a need. Jesus tells workers are needed to address that. There is plenty of work, the question is where does God want you to report for work? This plan will help you answer that question with the Lord directly.
My prayers go with you.
This program has been conducted at Walnut Hill Community Church, The Bible Church, Kingdom Life Christian Church and others as well as other venues. For more information contact Pastor / Chaplain Al Pirozzoli through Litchfield Hills Church or contact:    203.232.5527
This is a USA copyrighted intellectual property and cannot be copied or distributed without written permission of the author.

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