Random Proverbs for Business
July 15, 2007
Sometimes in life, business, and ministry, you encounter people, situations, and attitudes that make your blood boil. Your visceral reaction is to stomp the living daylights out of that raunchy attitude, express your indignation over the unjust situation, and put that person causing you difficulties in his or her place.
Quick, harsh words will do the trick and it will be all over.
Will they? Will it be over?
What do you want? What do you really want?
Do you want your check cashed, your order filled, or your question answered? Or do you want a fleeting moment of carnal pleasure watching someone else suffer discomfort and deflation of ego?
Do you want the problem solved or do you prefer to escalate it to the next level?
Do you want the relationship mended or maimed?
Do you prefer to make an enemy or a friend or client?
Do you want to create a bad memory or a pleasant one?
Do you wish to be destructive or productive?
Do you even like yourself enough to do what is in your own best interest?
Self foot shooting is a national sport among those who would rather bath in the sulfur baths of self-justification and indignation than back up, back off, and win.
Proverbs 15:1 says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
What is your goal here? Is it the brick wall of wrath that is more like swimming against a current than going with the flow? Is it escalating anger that gets you no where? Do you want to make your adversary angrier or would you prefer to make him or her a partner in reaching your goals?
It is really up to you, but harsh words and unbridled anger will never be your friends on the road to success. They form an attitude that, for many, is the one roadblock to personal progress. Those who possess it find endless excuses for not succeeding and they all involve someone or something that has gotten in their way and impeded them when, in fact, it is this attitude that has been in their way all along.
So, ask yourself and be honest, "What do i really want out of this?"
Once you know, adjust your attitude, soften your response, and go for it!
July 14, 2007
Proverbs 14:22 contrasts the plots of evil with the plans of goodness:
Do not those who plot evil go stray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. (New International Version)
Realistically, there is not much difference between a plot and a plan, but in this case there is a vast difference and it is in the adjectives. Good and evil are eternal opposites and their contrast is enough to make the plotting of sinister things dark and ugly. Such plotting may be thorough, logical, and brilliant in its intricate design, but it leads the plotter and all of his followers astray.
Not every proposal that comes across your desk is worth the investment of your time, energy, and good name. Examine it. Know who it is that is originating it and what motivations have brought it as far as your attention. Even you can be led astray if the story is good enough.
On the other hand, there are people with grand and noble motives and a desire to do good and live with integrity. These folks also plan and they do so carefully. They may be clever and detailed as well. But they are different. They lead to love and faithfulness for they are rooted in these qualities.
Proposals of such a sort are worthy of your consideration. You may not choose all of them, but you can safely consider them .
By their fruits you shall know them." - Jesus
Here is a good article for people toying with the idea of developing a home based business from AllBusiness.Com and Yahoo Finance. Look it up as The Top 25 Home-Based Business Ideas first published April 11.
Of those listed, several might be of interest to network marketers or those who market primarily over the Internet. All of them have some overlap, but I will highlight a few that were mentioned in the article.
# 1. Personal trainer. If you are marketing health and wellness products, energy drinks, or vitamins, one of your best resources is the army of personal trainers who exercise great influence over highly motivated clients several times a week. Recruit these folks as distributors and third party their sales for them. Be sure to find a reputable company for which to distribute quality products.
# 3. Tutoring. There are several tutoring companies that are headquartered online. Using SKYPE you can tutor remotely all over the world.
# 4. Business coaching and # 5 Consulting. Network marketing is an industry that is built on the concept of everyone having a coach/mentor with the "system" as the support and curriculum. In network marketing, your coach comes with the package and this is a tremendous selling point as you recruit people. They will have the opportunity to learn from successful winners in the industry.
10. Desktop publishing. This is one business that can be developed remotely over the Internet. Begin to develop some templates that will enable you to customize clients' work while expediting your own assignment.
# 16. Gift baskets and # 17. Wedding planner. I am no longer an IBO with Quixtar, but they have a wonderful specialty business that, until recently, was called "The Gift Incentive Program." This is a wonderful, lucrative, and attractive product that includes many specialty items ideal for weddings and gift baskets as well as so many other applications.
# 18. Personal shopper. This is an ideal fit for Quixtar IBOs as well as people who have developed a sophisticated index/catalog of affiliate shops. You can shop from your own stores for the best bargain and right fit for your clients.
There are other good suggestions in the article as well as some excellent opportunities not mentioned. Read it and learn. Then come back for some other recommendations for profitable, turn-key, home-based businesses with built-in coaching and support.
See also: Income Opportunities
- Tom Sims, The Dream Factory
June 27, 2007
From my bulletins for today on MySpace, are some meditations on the conduct of our businesses, ministries, and personal affairs that I would group under the heading: Stay on your toes.
The admonition is to be alert and take nothing and no one for granted. Live life on tiptoe in anticipation, but also in awareness of what is going on over the horizon.
Boasting vs Believing About Tomorrow
We are to make faith declarations and dream statements as freely as we breath, but boasting is another matter. It presupposes that we are self-sufficient and need neither God nor other people to reach our aspirations and excludes gratitude from the success equation of our lives.
Thus, the writer of Proverbs declares (27:1) : Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring forth." (New International Version)
Of course we do not know. There are variables beyond our oversight and capacity to predict. We do not control other people's choices or the heartbeat of nature. There are larger purposes than our own and we function best when we view our lives as part of a larger plan and submit ourselves to a greater will.
When that happens, the dream that is planted within our hearts is a dream we must pursue and can pursue with divine guidance and power. However, we do not know what valleys of sorrow or storms of trouble through which we must pass.
We cannot boast about the time frame.
All that we can determine are our choices and our beliefs and these we must control or they will be controlled by the circumstance.
You can believe in tomorrow without boasting about it. You can predict your own success without presumption. You can embrace a life of faith without assuming that there will be no battles to fight or hardships to bare. You can control your decisions without controlling all of your circumstances.
You can choose to be an overcomer without knowing what tomorrow will bring.
You can live in absolute ignorance of the specifics of the future and remain positive if you know and trust the One who holds tomorrow.
Another Form of Dangerous Boasting
One of the principles of network marketing is edification. we edify up-line and down-line. That is also true in the church, ministry, and every business and social endeavor.
Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else and not your own lips."
On might ask in panic, "How can I be sure that they will? If i don 't toot my own horn, who will toot it?"
Simple. It will be those you have built up in the eyes of others. They cannot wait to build you up. They will have, not only the desire, but the incentive, to increase the esteem others have of you by their own words.
The greater your credibility, the greater the credibility they can give to you when they speak.
third party credibility is the lifeblood of marketing and all forms of networking and it is the right thing to do.
Acknowledging all that as true, we return to the essence of the proverb: humility. It is the humble man or woman who does not destroy his or her own reputation through self-serving bragging. That sort f person undersells and over-delivers.
Don't be stupid.
The word "stupid" is offensive to some and rightly so. It has to do with being in a permanent stupor or daze and letting life pass by without our notice, attention,l or intervention.
I know some really smart, stupid people who wander in and out of stupidity and allow their businesses, ministries, and lives to wander down paths of least resistance through minefields of needless danger with little awareness or care.
That is unnecessary.
Proverbs 27:12 says (NIV), "The prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."
How much trouble in your dealings can you chalk up to inattention to detail?
I know it is boring, especially for "hunters" like many of us. We are ambitious dreamers, focused on our multiple goals who do not want to be bothered with petty problems and possible snags in our drive toward success.
We must choose to be aware of the environments in which we operate or enter into stupors to our detriment.
That is what so many do when they dull their senses with chemical addictions and other forms of addictive behavior.
"If I don't see it," they delude themselves by declaring, "it is not a problem."
Wrong! It is when we don't see it that it becomes a problem. If we see it, especially down the road, we can take positive action and turn the potential danger into our own advantage.
Don't be stupid. Wake up and take the proper refuge.
Are you taking full advantage of the opportunities that come to you with arms and legs every day?
You have been gifted with associates above you and below you on charts made by human hands who have the capacity to add value to your life with every conversation and as you observe them.
Some of them make big mistakes, but even they are not useless. You can use them as examples of what not to do.
You can learn from everyone with whom you come into contact.
Proverbs 27:17 in the NIV says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."
How does this happen? Many ways. Perhaps we can touch on a few of them with the word, SHARP.
S = Seeing - We observe the other person's life, choices, habits, techniques, strategies, behavior, and interactions and learn. If we will watch people closely, we will collect valuable information and will observe timeless principles being fleshed out in their lives. Paul once told some of the disciples to follow him as he followed Christ.
H = Hassle - The word means "struggle" or "contest," but we use it to refer to the resistance we sometimes get when we need to reevaluate our behaviors and choices. So it is sort of a struggle that begins within us and continues as others compete with us or challenge us about our behaviors. we get shaper and either change our choices or become stronger in them. Never discount the benefit of a good hassle.
A = Accountability - If we are never accountable to anyone, we will drift into an undisciplined and unproductive life. That is almost always true because God has made us for community and has designed systems of accountability into the framework of churches and businesses. Network marketing employs that principle. So, call your upline or your pastor, or your accountability partner and do it regularly.
R - Respect - We learn respect for ourselves by respecting others, We learn respect for others when we reverence and respect God and His handiwork in fashioning people so magnificently. When you look upon one of those polished pieces of iron with arms and legs, you are looking upon the very handiwork of God. You will get sharper by respecting people.
P - Practice - People give us the opportunity to practice principles, to practice our presentations, and to practice our principles. People sharpen people through practice, interaction, conversion, struggle, and shared labor.
Don't be a loner. If you make the choice to do it all yourself, by yourself, you will suffer unnecessary setbacks and delays. Let other people make you sharper and let them benefit through their association with you as well.
How is Your Fig Tree?
Proverbs 27:18 NIV) says, "He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored."
This is pretty simple:
Do your job.
Do your best.
Then, do better.
Treat your job, if you still have one, like it is your own business and act in the boss's interest as if his or her success if yours.
Even if you are trying to retire with all the energy and ingenuity you have during your off hours by building your own empire, do your J-O-B (just over broke) with diligence and be conscientious.
There will be fruit. Sometimes the fruit will grow in places you do not expect, but it will grow and you will eat it.
Of course, once you get your own fig tree, you will get a bigger share.
Some people think of counting sheep as a way of falling asleep. I would suggest it as a metaphor for staying awake and alert.
Proverbs 27:23-24 says (NIV), "Be sure to know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations."
Your business or ministry will not thrive, grow, and prosper without your attention. Your people will not become all they can be without your help. Your organization will not be protected unless you protect it.
You must pay attention to what has been entrusted to you.
Your network needs your knowledge and you need to know what is going on.
Technology is your friend. We have phones, e-mail, databases, back offices, and so many tracking tools ... but we need to use them.
We cannot assume that everything will take care of itself and that matters will be OK if we ignore them. We need a hands-on approach while trusting people, systems, and the leaders we train. We have to know what is going on with our flocks.
You are a shepherd over your business or ministry. It is your job to care and guide.
Relaxed leadership is fine; disengaged leadership is disastrous. Inattentive and apathetic leadership hurts your entire organization and all the people in it.
Some of the things that require your attention are:
1. The raw numbers. You need to be tracking the internal trends within your system.
2. The attitudes and morale of your people. Look for subtleties that need to be addressed before they become problems.
3. The trends in your industry and in those societal factors that effect and affect your industry and the attitudes of people toward it. don't be the last to know.
4. Technological advances and innovations. Don't be caught off-guard.
These are just a few of the signposts to which you need to pay attention. The bottom line is: PAY ATTENTION!
The rest of the passage 925-27) is a promise:
"25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26 the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
27 You will have plenty of goats' milk
to feed you and your family
and to nourish your servant girls."
June 16, 2007
Proverbs 16:26 says (NIV), " A laborer's appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on."
It was the year 1975 and I had been married for less than a year. I had recently quit my job on a church staff and had turned down two j-o-b (just over broke) jobs for the opportunity to set my own hours (translate that: work 70 hours instead of 40), set my own limits, and set my own pay in the vacuum cleaner industry.
Only we called them "home maintenance systems"
In the training, our manager had placed a $100 bill under one of the chairs. I did not get it, but I did make the first sale in the group that night and got a $100 bonus on top of my commission.
I sold it to my wife and it still works in our home.
Back in the training, our leader said something I will never forget, something encouraging, uplifting, and comforting, "I hope you are all broke and badly in debt."
I felt my heart warmed ... or was that heartburn?
He meant that he wanted us hungry because without the hunger, we would not care enough. Without it, we would not be desperate enough to get up and do what needed to be done. we would not knock on the extra doors, walk the extra miles, or put forth the extra effort required to beat the numbers game that is sales.
It was raw sales without internet, tools, CDs, business cards, or brochures. We lugged around a huge piece of equipment in one hand and a "premium" gift in the other in hopes of bring invited in for a 1-and 1/2 hour demonstration and presentation.
We had to be hungry. I was starving and I sold 5 that summer including the one I sold to myself. There were two in one day, one in a house without carpet and a "No Solicitor's" sign on the front door.
I love to tell that story. It is my claim to sales fame.
Starvation would have taken deeper hold if it had not been for my wife's j-o-b, some savings, some preaching honorariums, and the five commissions.
but I got the point and gladly accepted the pastorate of two small country churches in August and turned in my home maintenance system.
But selling was in my blood and I have done it here and there ever since, both in the work of the ministry and helping to supplement my ministry in the world. I got the principle of big numbers and applied them to Sunday School enrollment campaigns. I came to understand necessity of appetite and hunger in driving us toward success.
Hunger is the prevention of a negative experience. Appetite is a positive propellant toward a goal or dream that we have so deeply embraced that to be without it is painful, unbearable, and disastrous. it is the kind of pain that works for us because it gets us up and gets us going.
Where do your hunger and appetites lie? If you are not consumed by any, get some. Otherwise, you will stay where you are, satisfied and stagnant.
Feel those pangs!
NOTE: Sometimes on the road to our larger dreams, we need to generate a financial base to support what we feel called and driven to do and to be. I have found several options for laying that foundation in the areas of network and affiliate marketing. Work from home on your own schedule and make the time you need to pursue your passions. My primary network marketing commitment is Prepaid Legal and it would be an honor to help you build a Prepaid Legal business. To find out more, visit this site: Getting Paid Daily. If that does not work for you, I am now working with some people who are distributing ACT energy drinks as one of my streams of income and helping people set up profitable businesses in that growing industry. Visit this ACT site All of this information and an annotated list of opportunity links can be found on my MySpace page, at the Dream Factory, and here at: INCOME OPPORTUNITIES WITH TOM SIMS
June 11, 2007
Selling is an honorable profession. Not only is it honorable, it necessary for the well being of economies, peoples, and the needy. Sales facilitates distribution and distribution brings the necessities of life to our doors. If the distribution system were to break down, we would be plunged into a rapidly escalating worldwide crisis of hunger. Our life support systems would come to a halt. Medicines would not be delivered. people would die; others would suffer.
Never apologize for selling. As a direct or network marketer, you probably have many names for what you do, but the selling part is honorable. You are the life blood of the economy.
You move things.
You are an educator.
You feed, clothe, heal, and provide essential services for the masses.
You encourage people and give them hope.
You build communities.
Solomon develops a contrast between hoarders and sellers. See it in four different translations.
The King James Version - "He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it."
The Message - "Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!Blessings on all who play fair and square!"
The New Living Translation - "People curse those who hoard their grain,but they bless the one who sells in time of need."
The New International Version - "People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell."
Selling is, as The Message translates it, the art of "playing fair and square."
There are times for giving things away, but nothing can be sustained that way. A fair and quality product for a fair price is a win-win scenario that keeps production and distribution alive.
Hoarding is selfish and unproductive.
What do we hoard?
Sometimes we hoard information that would help people make better decisions, buy better products, improve their lives, and create a better income and lifestyle.
D.T. Niles said that evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread. In a way, so is sales. Not to tell is to let the other person starve for lack of information.
Hold your head up high; you are doing important work. Now, go out and DO IT!
Still Not Ready?
Here is an acronym to empower your resolve: The FAIR DEAL
F = Facilitation - If you are dealing fairly with people, you are the facilitator of a process that they really want and need to happen. You are a facilitator, not a manipulator. You are helping them reach THEIR GOALS AND GET WHAT THEY WANT AND NEED. Is this not also true of evangelism?
A = Acquisition - Things need to move from hand to hand along a pipeline from point of origination to point of use. You help that happen by providing the support, information, guidance, and contacts that make it possible. As sales professional, you are a servant in the arena of acquisition.
I = Integrity - People choose to do business with you because they know you, like you, and trust you. Integrity bolsters this trust. You must always do your best to tell the truth and act in an honest, ethical, and forthright manner in all you do. You will elevated the profession of sales, the ministry of evangelism, or even the pastorate by your integrity. Lack of integrity in any of these areas of endeavor is devastating to the reputation of all. Solomon advocates fair dealing. Proverbs 11:1 says, " The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight." Integrity always pays in the long run.
Here are some helps for operating with integrity:
- Under sell and over deliver. Make that a habit. Always surprise people by doing more than you promise, faster than you guaranteed, and with a bigger smile than when they signed the contract.
- Admit your lack of knowledge and willingness to try to find answers. Don't make them up.
- Rehearse the truth not a lie. What you say in private will lodge itself in your mind and emerge from your lips.
- Don't try to elevate your product or business opportunity by cutting someone else's down.
- Sell only what you can believe in without doing mental contortions.If you do not believe your own message, find one you believe and deliver it.
R = Relationships - Remember that selling is not a product business; it is a people business. work constantly on your people skills and highly value people. Love them. Try to get them the best deal. Serve them. enjoy them. Never see them merely as a means to an end. People can see through that. Make a friend and earn a long term business relationship. All of this works in ministry as well.
D = Dependability - With all the integrity in the world, if you are flaky and sloppy about your appointments, other people's time, and your commitment to returning calls and correspondence in a timely and courteous many, you will be perceived rightly as undependable. If you have to wear yourself out at anything, make it in the area of promise keeping and respect for the time of the people you serve.
E - Even-handedness - For a deal to be fair, everyone must win. No one goes away thinking he "took" the other. There is a mutual understanding that the seller deserves a fair profit and the buyer deserves a fair price.
A - After-the-sale Attention - If you are going to do repeat business with someone, it will most often be because you stand by your product and remember your clients after the transaction of the deal. They are, after all, now your friends. Remember them. Stay in touch with them. Do little things for them. Most of all, make sure that they are happy with the deal and, if not, try to fix it.
L = Leverage - In network marketing, we talk a lot about time leveraging. Sales is all about leveraging - time, people, knowledge, contacts, associations, affiliations, and our ability to expedite matters. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the power of leverage to improve the product that our clients receive and the profitability of our own efforts and that of our teams. Along the way, you will find people who see the power of leveraging and you can invite them to share its benefits by becoming part of your team.
Go out and do it now and know that you are an important part of making the world go around today.
My primary network marketing commitment is Pre Paid Legal. it would be an honor to help you build a Pre Paid Legal business. To find out more, visit this site: Getting Paid Daily
June 06, 2007
No one likes to "eat crow," grovel, or admit that they were wrong enough to get into a predicament from which they need help extricating themselves. It sears one's pride and devastates one's self-esteem and the quicker we get it done, the better.
Sometimes the choice is between swallowing one's pride and going broke.
Swallowing pride is uncomfortable. Being broke is much worse.
The teacher in Proverbs 6:1-5 hits the nail on the head:
" My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler."
Here is the scenario. The son has made promises he can't keep, albeit in good faith, by cosigning on someone else's loan. That person might have been a friend he trusted or a stranger who "took him in." either way, he is now seeing the error of his ways and the danger signs ahead.
Solomon wisely counsels him, "Grovel!"
Go now and eat crow. Do it fast; do it with all your energy. GET OUT OF THAT DEAL!
No one wants to hear this. Part of us would rather go under than bow down. We would rather bluff our way through life than humble ourselves and do what is best for ourselves and what is right by God and man.
Pride will hurt you, my friend. It will hurt you in the wallet and it will hurt you in the heart.
This is a practical reminder from the Proverbs that we are not always right and when we are wrong, the most prudent thing to do is admit it and repair the damage as quickly as possible.
Would you rather be right or rich?
How to get Ahead
Ants have always been a source of fascination for me. Their collective intelligence and capacity for production is amazing. I used to tread water on the deep end of our swimming pool and observe them move in and out from the cracks with a precision and organization that could not be explained by the presence of a "queen" buried in there somewhere.
Essentially, their work is unsupervised, without instructions, and self-motivated by something intrinsic to their nature.
They get it done and they get far enough ahead to be self-sufficient as a community.
You never see a frustrated or worried ant.
In fact, if you divert him from his immediate mission, he seems to carry on his larger mission by simply finding another task and doing it.
There is so much to learn from ants. thus, Solomon said in Proverbs 6:2-8:
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. "
This teaching is placed in the Proverbs as a counter to laziness. If industry and self-starting are keys to getting ahead, laziness is an expressway to getting behind.
Solomon writes to the sluggard with the hope that, by observing someone getting it done, he will get with it himself and be motivated.
It is easy to self-motivate when we see the results stacking up minute-by-minute, hourly, or even daily. it can be tougher if it takes longer to see progress. in that case, we must learn to visualize it and measure it differently.
However we inform our psyches of the benefits of steady, hard, conscientious work, be assured of this, it is worth the effort.
If you want to get ahead, you must work at it and you must motivate yourself to do so.
How to Get Behind
If there is a sure-fire expressway to getting ahead, there is a steep slide to getting behind. Just do nothing. Stay in bed. Roll over for another hour. Be late for work. Miss appointments. Be unreliable. Do sloppy work. Complain a lot. Grumble when you are assigned a task. Move slowly. Frown. Just be lazy.
Solomon understood this and spoke of it in Proverbs 6:9-11:
"How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man."
Why does he call it a little sleep and a little slumber? Because that is what we call it when we rest excessively. Everyone needs sleep. God designed us so that we require down time. However, the sluggard wants a little more and a little more and a little more.
He never gets caught up.
He is extremely successful at failure and, while he may feel or confess to be miserable, he is unwilling to do anything to change that state.
It takes effort to get out of bed. It takes an inner drive and a shock to the system to wake up and do what needs to be done. it may even be painful for you.
What you have to ask yourself is, "What is the greater pain, getting up or being broke?"
It is really all up to you.
June 05, 2007
Attention is costly. Otherwise, we would not have to pay it. Like any sound investment, paying attention pays well.
The teacher in Proverbs 5:1 says that by listening well to his words of insight, we can maintain discretion and preserve words of knowledge with our lips.
The path to good speaking is from the ears to the head, through the heart, and out the mouth. Most of us listen some, at least peripherally. We listen selectively. We listen with bias, thinking we know what to listen for and extracting tidbits to bolster our own arguments and pitches.. consequently, we lose both discretion and knowledge. What proceeds from our lips is not nearly as instructive, edifying, and truthful as it could be.
Solomon admonishes us to listen well. To pay attention this way costs us time and energy. The cost is in the spelling of WELL:
W - Listen with WONDER - That is jaw dropping, gaping, eyes-wide-open awe and inquisitiveness. we come to the school of life and sit at the feet of our elders expecting to learn, awed by our own lack of knowledge and the vastness of what can be known in the larger presence of what cannot be known. Without wonder and reverence for the unknowns, we have nothing to say.
E - Listen with ENGAGEMENT - That is exemplified in the picture of a student on the edge of his or her seat, staring at the teacher, glancing down at the paper, feverishly taking notes, asking questions, making mental application, and processing the new found knowledge outside of class. Engagement increases the volume of learning exponentially.
L - Listen with LAUGHTER - I do not mean frivolity, sarcasm, or contempt. I mean with a sense of fun and enjoyment. Let joy fill your learning. The ancient Hebrews spoke of the law as a thing of great joy and celebration. "To think," they must have thought and said, "that someone in Heaven, the Creator of all things, cares enough for us to give us such practical instructions on how to live in peace, harmony, and justice." Learn with laughter and learn to laugh at yourself when you see yourself in the bad examples. Things will get better.
L - Listen with a LOVE of learning. Cherish the opportunity, every opportunity to listen to the wisdom and insight of others. Ask deep questions and linger long over the words being shared with you. Allow them to go from your head to your heart. Soon they will proceed from your lips and you too, will be a preserver of knowledge.
It will cost you something to listen well, but you can afford it. it pays well.
May 23, 2007
Proverbs 23:4 (NIV)
"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint."
This may seem like a rather strange admonition, but it is absolutely necessary. Many people simple do not succeed in the race to riches because they wear themselves out in the first lap or two. Or they accumulate some quick wealth and lose health or life itself and never get to enjoy it. Short sprints in life's long haul are necessary for completetion of the marathon. Pacing oneself, taking breaks, knowing limitations, setting boundaries, and balance are some of the secrets of maximum effectiveness.
P - Practice restrain. Solomon urges us to hold back some effort. Usually it is unproductive, frenzied, thoughtless activities that we need to curtail in order to be more effective.
A - Assign yourself times to work and specific tasks to do. Also assign yourself times for rest, refreshment, and recovery. Assign and follow through. Keep your life in balance.
C - Create spaces for thought, reflection, renewal, and creative thinking. Create space for family. Money is not the most important thing in your life. It is the freedom to pursue what is valuable that makes money attractive. Do not lose that perspective.
E - Excuse yourself from attempts to overload you (by others) or yourself by yourself with good things that rob your energy from the things that are best. Make wise choices.
I also recommend The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.
May 22, 2007
In this life, there are some things that set us apart from others, our differences, and there are things that we have in common with all humanity. What sets us apart is the repulation we build through our choices and relationships. What draws us together is the reality that we have all been created by God with an equal dispensation of His love, grace, and creativity.
You Can't Buy a Reputation
Proverbs 22:1 - "A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is beter than siler or gold."
You cannot buy a good reputation, but a good reputation is like currency. It will open doors and create the trust and good will necessary to transact business in a cynical world.
Perhaps that is one reason Solomon said,"A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is beter than siler or gold."
First things first is an axiom that applies in so many ares of life. Getting rich quick does not promote a good reputation. Getting rich or successful systematically in such a ways as to be transparent and to help others along the way creates reputation and esteem.
If you are consistently honest in your business dealings, the word will get around. You will develop a reputation for honesty, fairness, and quality work. You cannot buy that, but with it, you can make a number of purchases.
Isn't that what a credit report is? Isn't it a formal statement of a person's reputation for keeping commitments?
Have you ever tried to get a loan with a lousy credit report?
There is no dollar figure on a good name. You earn it over a lifetime and it is well worth every minute invested in it.
Proverbs 21:2 (NIV) - "Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is Maker of them all."
There is an equality in the essential meaning of what it means to exist as a human being in this world. Each person is crafted by God. There is no birth distinction between rich and poor, no genetic predisposition dictating one's economic prospects. While people differ in talent, intellectual aptitude, and certain personality leanings, each is offered the possibility to become fully what they were made to be.
To be rich is to come into one's own.
It is to fully develop all of one's potential and live out one's purpose on this earth. It is to, through a process of trial and failure, to succeed and prosper according to God's design. It is to follow the Maker's dream implanted in the heart and to pursue that dream all the way.
What are you doing this very day to that end?
I would like to make some simple suggestions for today as you travel the road to success:
1. Avoid potholes, pitfalls, and speed bumbs. Approach life's highway as a defensive driver.
Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Don't live in utter oblivion to danger. wake up from denial. Pklan for contingencies. You were made by the same Creator as those who get caught in traps every day. You are special, but not special enough to be exempt from the laws of nature.
2. Humble yourself before God today. Worship Him. Take some time for worshipful reflection.
Proverbs 22:4 - By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Perspective comes when we hold ourselves up against the template of divine holiness. With perspective comes the realization of our God given potential for a full and meaningful life of purpose.
3. Pay your debts and avoid future debt. Do something today to move you closer to debt free living.
Proverbs 22:7 - The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Debt is slavery. Use it wisely and rarely and only to accomplish goals that cannot be accomplished without it.
4. Be careful what you plant. Think about your deeds and consequences.
Proverbs 22:8 - He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
All of your choices matter. Make good choices today, righteous choices.
5. Practice generosity today.
Proverbs 22:9 - He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
You only save in this life what you give away. Do something for the poor today.
6. Overcome the temptation to be lazy and half-hearted today. Take initiative.
Proverbs 22: 13 - The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
You will find many excuses for NOT doing what needs to be done. Take action to overcome that. Make momentum your friends by creating it with positive action.
7. Be just and wise.
Proverbs 22:16 - He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Don't do something that will harm people who are poor already and don't harm yourself by giving away unnecessary gifts to people who don't need, want, or appreciate them.
8. Guard your good reputation.
Proverbs 22:26 -Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
One of the best ways to lose a good reputation is by cosgining other people's debts. You may be tempted to lend your good name today. Be careful.
9. Respect agreements from the past. Have a long memory. God does. Be lawful and full of integrity. If there is some doubt about whether something is right or wrong, err on the side of caution to do the right thing.
Proverbs 22:28 - Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
10. Be dilligent. There is no substitute for faithfulness. Stick with your assignment and work hard.
Proverbs 22:29 - Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
God has created us with a measure of equality. What sets us apart is what we do consistently and faithfully in His grace and in obedience to His truth to build a repuation that is ours alone. The deeds we do to build a good name will also help us build a life and a business. Practice these ten principles today on your road to success.
May 21, 2007
I read Proverbs every day and often comment here on one or two related to business, wealth, or work.
These today are just some that spoke to me about how we think followed by a reflection on my own thinking and start/stop/start behaviors.
Proverbs 21:1 - (NIV) The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.
Somehow in some wonderfully mysterious way, God works through the thinking and heartbeat of leaders who are committed to Him to plant, sort, develop, and nurture ideas and thoughts.
Proverbs 21: 2 All a man's ways seem right to him,
but the LORD weighs the heart.
We almost always assume our thinking is right, but God knows and He alone can judge and manipulate our motives. This is not to make us fear our thoughts, emotions, and motives, but to create a sense of them being tentative. It should prompt us to put some things out there for God's evaluation. It is in that spirit that I wrote the following for a MySpace buletin today:
Left Brain - Right Brain - Brain Strain
I found an old journal in my pile of rubble with a resolution inscribed on the front page:
"I decided the other day ... to begin a left-handed journal. I hope to access some level of me not frequently seen."
First impression: Discomfort and Frustration. I fel like a person learning basic skills after a stroke.."
"So this is my right cerebral hemisphere. Hi!!"
About three entries followed and the whole book went blank for a while.
So much for the resolution and the right hemisphere. It was an interesting if not short-lived exercise. I did find a poem in there though:
"Death spoke to my friend..
Hope beckoned and he responded.
Now the only silence
Is the emptiness
Where he is not."
I am not sure what friend I wrote that for or if I could not have written it with my right hand, but there you are.
The point is, that I started something and didn't finish it. Actually, I came back 4 years later and wrote some more.
I could castigate myself for that and feel depressed. Then I might as well include all of my unfinished tasks in one huge depression. As long as I was throwing my hip out of joint kicking my read end, I might as well include all of the partially completed books, loose notes, and assorted projects that I intended to get to some day.
I start a lot of things.
I finish a few.
I think I finish more this way than I would if I never started anything.
The point is that you are who you are and you are wired the way God wired you. Go with the flow that is God's flow through you. Don't try to be me or anyone else. Be the best you that you can be by God's grace. Celebrate your uniqueness. Develop in your character and discipline. Don't be afraid to start things. Try to finish some - hopefuly the truly important things. Let things sort themselves out along the way. Try the right brain; try the left; either way, stay in your right mind. Let your creativity flow. Dream great dreams. Attempt great deeds.
And save your false starts - you may come back and finish them later.
May 20, 2007
Integrity, Vulnerability, and Authenticity - IVA
Are you real? You know the answer, but the clincher is how people perceive you. Do you come across as real? If not, you are paying a high price because your credibility account is overdrawn in the minds of people over whom you wish to exercise influence. People have built in radar censors for character. Three qualities will not only help you become real in the perception of others, but in reality itself.
Integrity is what you are when no one is looking. It is how your values, attitudes, and behaviors are integrated in your life. It is an invisble inner quality that always, ultimately, manifests itself outwardly.
Vulnerability is your willingness to let other people examine your life and test the quality of your consistency. It is your willingness to risk rejection and pain because you are confident in the core values of your life.
Authenticity is the result of the first two. it is what makes you unquie and real. It is what verifies your claims and makes you a credible person that anyone would desire to deal with. Write me anytime. I would love to be an encouragement to you.
Keep up the good work and keep the dream alive!
May 19, 2007
Yesterday I suggested that the very desire to make another person's day is an indicator of character and a predictor of success in that endeavor.
Today, I will start to spell out how to do that by examining the word, "D-A-Y." First let us look at a proverb for today, Proverbs 19:1:
"Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse. "
To apply that to our theme, we might paraphrase it this way: "While wealth and prosperity can open doors, create opportunities, and enable us to do much good for others, it would be better to do without it if it meant that our words wounded rather than healed, deflated people rather than inflating them, and discouraged rather than encouraged."
Words are powerful and how we use words will determine much of our success in making someone else's day.
And the god news is that if you make the day of enough people, it will eventually lead you on the path to success.
We don't have to choose between our success and that of others if we are willing to put our primary focus on helping others succeed.
Now, here is the D-A-Y
D = Decision. You make a decision about the kind of day you will have. You make it early; you make it firm. You decide that whatever comes your way, "The is the day that the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it." It is always a decision and if you make it, it will rub off on others. While you make the decision, early in the morning, to have a great day, decide to bring others along as well. Pray for opportunities to encourage, lift, and serve people. They will come!
A = Attitude. It is aways about attitude. Attitude can make or break your day and will affect others. Positive attitudes are contagious, but so are negative attitudes. If you walk around all day with the attitude that is selfish, angry, resentful, and bitter, that will take the wind out of people's sails who are living on the edge. Not everyone has learned the power of a positive decision. They need to see a living example of positivity - YOU! If you carry your decision to have a blessed day with you throughout the day and reflect that in your attitude, those same people will see and catch some of your spirit. Smile at frowns; speak gently to harsh voices; deflect criticism; be kind when you are treated without kindness. Be the master of your moments and your emotions. Elevated your attitude and you will elevate others.
Y = Yes, Yes living. It is a no-no world. All around us, people are looking for reasons to be critical, to disagree, to complain, to gossip, to make other people feel small. You have chosen to live the opposite way. You are looking for areas of agreement. You are searching for the YES. You are endeavoring to find things you can compliment and affirm, people you can encourage, and lives you can touch with God's love. You are actively giving out smiles. Your goal is to build and what you are building are people.
The only two things that will last forever are the Word of God and the souls of people. One builds the other.
Make a decision to have and promote a great day. Put on the attitude of positive thinking and living, the attitude of love and grace. Put it on the same way you put on a cheerful shirt in the morning. Look for yes every where and build upon each yes you find. Decision - Attitude - Yes = DAY.
Have a great one.
May 16, 2007
Proverbs 16:3 is a proverb for anything and it is so outlandish and broad that it is wonderfully difficult to fully embrace:
" Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed."
At first, this looks like a "get out of jail free " ticket for all sorts of ridiculous pursuits. One might ask, "Well, suppose I want to rob a bank? Will God help me be successful in that?"
You might be successful and it might be because you pervert some eternal principles to your own selfish and destructive ends, but that is not what is promised here. One must balance the counsel with the whole counsel of scripture while taking such a simple word at face value.
"Commit to the Lord." - That presupposes a full, not a partial commitment. It is the sort of commitment that changes and refines our plans. Balance and inform this with the two proverbs that come before:
"1 To man belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue."
"2 All a man's ways seem innocent to him,
but motives are weighed by the LORD. "
This process of committing begins with the planning process. It starts with our thinking. It introduces creative transformation and profound spiritual insight into the realm of our strategic development.
This time to start committing is when we start dreaming and scheming. Then, God can shape our dreams, goals, and plans.
We tend to be naive. We know not our own hearts. But God knows and He has a dream to plant in each of our hearts. It is not His intention for us to go through life spinning our wheels and never accomplishing anything. He wants us to succeed in the ways that He defines success.
That means "whatever."
Some key words inform us and instruct us:
Commit - To fully commit is to place something in the hands of another, but it is also to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the dream and the tasks that make the dream come true. When we commit our lives to Jesus Christ, we place them in His hands and He places a mission in ours. It is likewise true of our plans and goals. Would you characterize yourself as a committed person or are you more casual about your objectives? Commitment is a key element in any successful person's formula for accomplishment.
The Lord - By His very Name and nature He is qualified to manage all of our contingencies. He is the Center of all things. It would be a serious insult and utter stupidity to say, "Lord, you can be Lord of my soul, but I'll take care of my business." Vance Havner said, "He is Lord of All or He isn't Lord at all." Consider what lordship means in your life and how serious you are about having a center that holds all things together.
Whatever - Whatever you do is an all-encompassing concept. Make a list of as many tasks, concerns, goals, and objectives you have in as many dimensions of life as you can think of. Begin to bring these before God. Don't try to be systematic or compartmentalized in this exercise. Just free associate.
Do - Action builds results, not endless analysis. Strategy that does not "get done" brings no fruit. Great ideas do not produce wealth or success. Acting on great ideas does.
Plans - Some well meaning people believe that planning is nonspiritual. They are wrong. Not planning to succeed is equal to planning to fail. Plans do not guarantee instant success, but well thought out and prayed over plans, over the long haul, allowing for set-backs, risks, and failures, will bring ultimate success. The difference in nonspiritual planning and the kinds that brings success is the spiritual dimension we enter through commitment and prayer.
Succeed - We must redefine success and a process toward an ultimate, worthy dream. Earl Nightingale defined success as "the progressive realization of a worthwhile ideal." The road to success is paved with the cobblestones of failure and heaps of heartache, but if one is committed to the Lord and to the mission/dream, movement toward success is inevitable if we leave the final evaluation of our lives to God.
May 15, 2007
The house of the righteous contains great treasure,
but the income of the wicked brings them trouble. (Prov. 15:6, NIV)
"It's only money."
You don't need to have me point out the obvious to you. Some people have money pass through their hands with no effort or gain. Still others suffer the worse fate of having money actually complicated their lives to the point of causing them all sorts of trouble.
Others see money transformed into treasure, something it is not in and of itself.
What is the difference? Is it the quality of the cash?
Not at all; it is the centering of the person. A RIGHTeous person is someone in RIGHT relationships with his or her Maker, within Himself.herself, and with other people. Furthermore, to be RIGHTeous is to be aimed at and heading in the RIGHT direction. It is not perfection; it is relationship and direction.
R - Follow the advice of Solomon and "REMEMBER your creator in the days of your youth." (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Righteousness is first and foremost being rightly related to God and that is the primary, core issue of life upon which all others are built. The fear of the Lord truly is the beginning of wisdom.
I - INVEST in relationships - especially your relationship with God, but also with those closest to you. Relationships require engagement and energy, time and commitment. Beginning and center and emanating outward, relationships are the key to lasting success in ministry and in business .. Sound relationships promote longevity on jobs and in business which ultimately means income security over a long period of time without the kind of trouble that income without good relationships brings. People skills are make or break issues in most people's success or failure.
G - GRAVITATE toward the right direction. Move toward solid outcomes. Let truth and integrity be the gravitational poles of your life along with love, respect, and honesty. Make friends with the scriptures and great, uplifting books and consult them for the general direction of your life. Cultivate a life of prayer and obedience to God's Spirit which will open you to specific direction in your life. RIGHTeousness is not about perfection, but direction. When we lead righteous lives, we are moving in the right direction. This is a gravitation toward progress in your personal and business life.
H - HEED course correction directions by remaining sensitive to the Spirit, open to constructive criticism, and responsive to accountability and wise counsel. Ask some key people in your life to ask as buffers against extreme divergences from the right path in your life. When they seek to helm you make directional corrections, listen, value, and evaluate their counsel against all the evidence and be appreciative. Sometimes this is just the kind of advice that will keep you from squandering your wealth or making very expensive mistakes.
T - Be THANKFUL. Gratitude keeps everything in your life in proper perspective. Be grateful to God and to people for every blessing. When you hold all the treasures in your life with an open, generous, and thankful hand, you will experience less tension and actually make fewer major blunders.
Seek to lead a RIGHTeous life. It makes the difference in every dimension of life - even in the area of wealth.
May 14, 2007
Proverbs 14:23 - "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."
In today's readings of Proverbs, one stands out to be as instructive in the matter of work and wealth.
It has to do with the value of hard work and it suggests that there is always profit in hard work.
It does not define that profit as always being a commission at the end of the day. in fact, the profit for today may be that step of character development that leads to the next level of skill that leads to eventual income.
The harvest, the sale, the royalty, or the commission may be off in the distance, but today's hard work is contributing to that pay off.
On the other hand, the fruit of mere talk is clearly defined as poverty - no money, no profit, no advance toward one's goals. Talk is good, but mere talk is fruitless. More than that, it is a thief, robbing us of precious time and draining our energy and enthusiasm.
Your assignment for today is to do something to advance toward your goals. Do something purposeful and intelligent. Don't wait for it to be the perfect something. Don't wait for a guaranteed and immediate payoff. Make an effort, the best you can with what you have and what you know right now. Be willing to make some mistakes and move forward.
There will be profit in it.
It pays well.
Some suggestions for doing SOMETHING today are:
1. S - Serve . if you can't thing of anything else to do, serve someone in some way. if you are in business, do something to serve your clients or customers. If you are in ministry, serve the people God has called you to shepherd. Do something unexpected and unprompted.
2. O - Out-perform yesterday's effort. Take it to the next step or level. Compete only with yourself and out-perform yourself.
3. M - Mean it. If you do something, do it with your heart. Guy Williams is a master. I sit in the back of a Starbucks - HIS Starbucks - and watch him talk to everyone within any proximity of him. He represents an extremely credible company with a dynamic product and a powerful business opportunity and he never sells. He just talks to people. as he says, "When it goes from your head to your heart, the rest is a slam dunk." He means it.
4. E - Expect something. Our proverb doesn't exactly tell us what to express in terms of profit, but it tells us to expect SOME SORT OF PROFIT. That is because it is a timeless law of God's universe. The universe did not create that law. God did and God enforces it. He rewards honest, purposeful effort and the positive attitude that believes His word on the matter to be true.
5 - T - Talk, but Temper Talk with Traction. Traction happens when we dig in and move our wheels across the surface. It requires some inner propulsion and intentionality, but there is no advantage to our endlessly gunning our engines to gear up for activity. Act and move.
6 - H - Hang out and Hang in. Your work will most likely involve "being there" where people are. Sometimes the first thing you need to do is put yourself in the right location. From that point, be open, available, and consistent. for much of what you want to accomplish, you will need to make friends over the long haul. Hang in there with your hanging out - but get out today and start hanging.
7 - Insist on your own activity, you are your own supervisor. No one else is going to make you do what needs to be done. accountability partners are helpful and running buddies are necessary encouragement, but there is no substitute for self-motivation. Take care of it. read what you need to read. Listen to enough of what pumps you up and then, when you still don't feel like doing something, do it any way. insist on it.
8 - N - Need what you are working for. Need it deeply. Find that place inside of you that longs for the fruit of your labors. Cultivate the need. Visualize the payoff. Keep it before you. Need it.
9 - GO for it! At some point you have read all the points and it is time to take action. go out and do so.
May 04, 2007
"If a rhinoceros were to enter this restaurant now, there is no denying he would have great power here. But I should be the first to rise and assure him that he had no authority whatever."— G.K. Chesterton to Alexander Woollcott
The creature would certainly have a passing influence, but it would never be confused with positive leadership with the capacity to produce long-term life transformation. At best (or worst) it can alter the the circumstances of our lives through brute force.
In fact, the sheer power and imposing strength of the rhino, if it were a metaphor for those qualities in our lives, might be a detriment. Peter Drucker observed that, " No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human."
Real leadership is more about character than charisma. It must be something that can be duplicated in other people who are willing to develop in character and pay the price of integrity and consistency.
"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." — Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a market for great leadership.
Not only do we have the opportunity to find those kinds of people in our lives, but we can be that kind of person to someone else. In fact, the cycle is not complete until we fnd ourselves on both the giving and receiving ends of mentorship. You can be more, but you can also be the person who invites and inspires someone else to be more. Never under estimate your capacity to be a positive influence.
Intimidating people, beating them up, overpowering them, out-talking, and staring them down will only produce temporary results and not positive ones at that.
How then might we lead as to inspire people to reach their next level of greatness?
- Love them. It may seem trite, but it is a reality that a trust worthy leader is someone who not only loves his/her followers, but communicates that love in service, refines it in prayer, and oozes it in words of encouragement and sensitive silence. Jesus declared and modeled that the good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
- Elevate them. Desire and drive their rise to prominence. Take a back seat. Rejoice when they prosper. Swell with delight when they are recognized. Brag on them and let them take the bows.
- Accelerate their opportunities to learn, grow, be exposed to other great leaders and to expose themselves to the public. Pass on books, articles, audio teaching, and event announcements. Take them places and introduce them. Give them assignments that will stretch them.
- Mentor as a friends, a coach, a parent, and a sibling. Mlost of all, be a posiitve, practical, and observale example. Be available. Listen, advise, and applaud. Become their cheerleading section and be available.
That is L for Love, E for Elevate, A for Accelerate, and M for Mentor = LEAD!
"You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that's assault, not leadership." — Dwight D. Eisenhower
If you want fast results that will produce no enduring fruit, release the rhinoceros in you in some crowded place. If you want to be a leader who inspires people to greatness, however, LEAD.
April 23, 2007
Ideally, we would post these on the day pf the month that corresponds to the number of the chapter, but that is ideal and just isn't going to happen. Here are some of the verses from chapter 13. While it is not entirely possible le to separate out those pertaining to wealth and work, these deal most specifically with those issues.
2 - A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.
The difference between two business entrepreneurs may transcend mere technique and product and go to the character issue which drives business strategy. there are bullies in business who seek to win by intimidation. Then there are those who speak well and whose words are gracious and compelling. One group has an appetite for sweet words and the other for violence. Temporal success may come to the latter, but it is bitter and tasteless, and even disastrous as evidenced in the next verse:
3 - He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
4 - The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
It is not mere desire that achieves our goals. certainly desire is a component of motivation, but motivation ends in movement and with steady, diligent movement, there will be no long term results. Lazy people simple are not achievers.
7 - There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
"Maketh himself'" can be translated, "presents oneself as" or "pretends to be." Sam Walton drove his truck between his stores. It was not out of pretence; it was who he was. He had no need to pretend. Some desire the status of wealth. Others want the real thing. Stop pretending and "putting on airs."
Humility is good business.
8 - The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
There are good reasons and bad reasons for accumulating wealth. the less noble reasons revolve around status, self-indulgence, and lust for power. the noble reasons include the opportunity to be generous, to exert positive influence, to provide for one's family, and this: to be prepared for the dangers and contingencies of life. Some people who are poor are oblivious to threats and assume that there will always be a safety net below them. These are not necessarily those who are circumstantially poor, but those who suffer poverty of the soul and spirit - who possess no dream or motivation to be more than they are. when the time of crisis comes, they will be surprised while the rich will be prepared.
11 - Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
There are many ways to get rich and dishonesty is one of them. Those riches, however, have a short shelf life and will whither away - especially in eternity. However, those who build their wealth honestly and conscientiously over time will continue to grow. Thus we read in the next verse that long-term goals lead to sweet fruition:
12 - Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
18 - Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
Successful people are always learning, always seeking counsel, andare willing to accept correction. Pride leads to poverty and shame.
And again, the fruit of working for a goal is accentuated in the following verse:
19 - The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
22 - A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
It is a good thing to build an estate. A good rule of thumb is that articulated by Warren Buffet - "enough to do something with, but not enough to do nothing." What we want to leave our grandchildren is an opportunity and an inheritance can often do that. As you build your wealth, consider the generations to come. Perhaps we should apply that as a society to our stewardship of the earth.
23 - Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
25 - The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.
There are two ways to squander a fortune: (1) bad judgment and (2) wickedness. we have all seen it and we must all reject these stumbling blocks. Real wealth is as much about how long as it is about how much.
April 12, 2007
To continue with the Proverbs project that I started on the 11th, here is the next offering:
9 -Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
than pretend to be somebody and have no food. (NIV)
You have to settle on what you are after in business- prestige or real, honest to goodness money. Do you want people to think you are loaded with cash, honor you, and be in awe of you while you are wondering where you are going to get your next meal or do you want to be doing well enough to have people working for you? Are you willing to sacrifice the accoutrements of self-importance and labor in obscurity for that which brings security to your family or do you insist on pretension and recognition? There are many fancy cars on the highway being driven by people who cannot afford them. They cannot be considered wealthy. They are broke at a higher level of debt.
11 - He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense. (NASB)
The NIV calls this pursuit, “chasing fantasies.” There is a big difference in a dream and a fantasy. The kinds of dreams that come true have goals and action plans attached to them and are possessed by people who are willing to work for and toward them. Tilling the soil of success is the key to sorting our worthless pursuits from grand possibilities.
12 - The wicked man desires the booty of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields fruit. (NASB)
If your heart is not right in this area of your life, you will be attracted to unscrupulous schemes and cutthroat maneuvers. However, if you are grounded in right thinking, living, and relationship to your Center (God), you will enjoy real fruit. The results of doing business the right way (right = righteous) is sweet tasting, juicy success from the tree of life.
14 Well-spoken words bring satisfaction;
well-done work has its own reward. (The Message)
Engage in work that is rewarding in and of itself.
24 - Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in slave labor. (NIV)
You have to work if you want to get ahead. Laziness will not only fail to set you free, but it will get you deeper and deeper in the hole of debt and servitude. Plan your work and work your plan. Do what it takes and see yourself emerge as a leader.
27 The lazy man does not roast his game,
but the diligent man prizes his possessions. (NIV)
There is some dispute about translations here, but the bottom line is that lazy people waste whatever they acquire. Imagine ordering 1000 brochures for your business and never giving any of them away. Does that sound outlandish? Of course it does. However, we have all either done it or have known those who have. Take care of business – whatever it is.
April 11, 2007
The book of Proverbs has much to say about wealth, work, prosperity, and stewardship. How we acquire wealth, how we spend it, and how we share it are all important issues along with our attitudes toward money and prosperity. This is not the prosperity gospel, but the gospel (good news) about prosperity is that if it is correctly defined in an unrestricted manner that includes spiritual intangibles , sought as something peripheral to more important values, rooted in enduring biblical principles, and built in increments by hard-working dreamers, it is possible.
That was a long sentence with quite a few qualifiers.
1 -The LORD abhors dishonest scales,
but accurate weights are his delight.
The first thing we need to know from today's proverbs is that God cares how you get your wealth. You may accumulate riches through dishonest business practices, but if you do, do not confuse your positive bank balance with the favor of God. He detests dishonesty and cheating. When faced with a moral dilemma about how things "measure up," choose to postpone your profit and do the right thing.
One possible benefit is that you will get "caught" being scrupulously honest and fair and the resulting reputation will eventually bring customers, loyal ones, to your door.
4 - Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
Wealth can be a very good thing. It can buy us time freedom. It can afford us my comforts. Just living in wealthy
Americameans that we enjoy the luxuries of street lights, public libraries, schools, and police protection. But we need to understand the limits of wealth. It is absolutely powerless to afford eternal benefits and protections. If you have to choose between righteousness and wealth, choose righteousness. Stay rightly related to God and stay on the right path.
10 - When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
Righteous people have a cheering section on their quest for prosperity. Rank and file citizen love your success story if ypou are the kind of person they can admire and emmulate. Otherwise, they just shake their heads in disgust and cry out "poetic justice: when your plans are foiled.
15 He who puts up security for another will surely suffer,
but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.
God has something to say about smart business practices also. Co-signing is not equiilant to generosity. Generosity is encouraged; putting your name on someone else's business deal is risking your reputation and stability unnecessarily and unwisely. You also risk your friendship with the person for whom you co-sign because that issue will dominate your thoughts toward her untill the obligation is completed. It will complicate your relationship and poison your interactions. Be smart with your money. Be even smarter with your credit and good name.
16 - A kindhearted woman gains respect,
but ruthless men gain only wealth.
"Only wealth" is how the teacher describes the benefits that come to ruthless people. is it true that ruthless business practices can result in profit? Of course, but ONLY profit. Can hard-hearted, hard-nosed negotiating that walks over the opponent bring final rewards? Yes, but ONLY financial rewards. What is lost is respect. The business person who is respected in the community for kindness and fairness will enjoy a different sort of prosperity that is likely to include financial success - and it will be long-term.
17 - A kind man benefits himself,
but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
Kindness comes back to the kind person in so many ways: freedom from trouble, avoidance of lawsuits, good will, peace of mind, and even fair profit. Cruel people will be in constant conflict and turmoil. Don't be short-sighted in business.
18 - The wicked man earns deceptive wages,
but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
So, what is so bad about deceptive wages? For one thing , they are not sure and for another, they're not rewarding. Those qualities of wealth are reserved for the righteous. Stay in close relationship with God and keep your moral compass pointed due north (spiritually). You can make money otherwise, but remember that it is ONLY money.
24 - One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
Yes. It is a mystery! Yes. It is counterintuitive. How can giving produce gain? There are many "real world" illustrations that can show the connection, but the primary rule is that which exists in the invisible spiritual world that governs the ultimate affairs of humankind. God set it up that way.
25 - A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Prosperity, whether it is material, relational, spiritual, or emotional, flows from a deep spring of generosity. In your business, put others first. Concentrate on delivering more than you are paid for and God will bless your business. Use your business as a means for giving to people and to Kingdom purposes, and He will give to you.
26 - People curse the man who hoards grain,
but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.
Selling is an honorable profession, especially as a counterpoint to hoarding. Believe it or not, some people fall so in love with their products that they refuse to display them. However, this principle goes beyond that rarity. What you offer has value and people need it. Don't keep it to yourself. Folks don't know what they don't know. Tell, them, show them, and let them buy from you. Be willing to sell.
27 He who seeks good finds goodwill,
but evil comes to him who searches for it.
Seeking good is seeking God. Always seek God and seek His good in others. If you like people and see the imange of God in them, they will be your best friends and people like to do business with friends. Build goodwill.
28 - Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
Finally (for today), don't trust your riches. Trust God. Your "stuff" will not last forever. God will and whatever you give to God will take on eternal qualities. Trust God.
Scriptures quoted from the New International Version - Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
April 10, 2007
These Proverbs were in my reading for today and spoke to me as I have been considering my own financial goals. They come from Proverbs 10:
4 Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
The Work-Attitude-Wealth connection in the scriptures, especially in Proverbs is blatant. WAW (Isn't that Hebrew?) reminds us that our attitudes about work and our follow-through on those beliefs have everything to do with our prosperity. While it is important to work "smart," it is also important to work hard enough to overcome lethargy. Sitting around doing nothing will produce nothing.
15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
While the scriptures teach us not to love money or trust in riches, they also give us a realistic picture of what real wealth does for us: It gives us security and freedom from unexpected attacks. Most of us come to financial ruin through poor planning and inattention to the details of sound financial planning and implementation of good business principles.
16 The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
To balance this teaching, one must be reminded that wealth in the wrong hands, wages specifically, can be a cause of pain and punishment. For instance, Paul reminds us in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but that eternal life comes a s a gift from God. On the other hand, financial remuneration for wealth well-done by righteous people can enhance life and provide wonderful options.
21 The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of judgment.
I left out a some verses on money and added this one on a different subject. however, it spoke to me this morning and relates to where I am in my business and ministry. what God has given to me specifically with which to bless others and earn a living is my ability to communicate with words. God grant that I may be a righteous man, rightly related to god and traveling in the right direction so that my words may nourish many. This is especially urgent since so many are falling by the wayside for lack of judgment.
22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
and he adds no trouble to it.
Whatever God considers wealth in my life is what I desire to receive from Him and in cooperation with His purposes. That wealth will be a blessing with which I can bless others. Anything else will just be trouble.
March 17, 2007
Lyn Perry is getting the job done at Thought Renewal. His balance of good sense and biblical grounding is refreshing and challenging. Any serious entrepreneur with a deep commitment to Jesus Christ and Christian principles would do well to subscribe to Lyn's blog.
His mission is stated as, "Helping People Help Themselves to a Joyful Life of Abundance"
I first came across Lyn's work while writing and researching a Christian perspective on the recent documentary, "The Secret." I found his analysis very similar to my own . Lyn encourages employment of the "Law of Affirmation."
Here is his from one of his recent articles, Daily Afirmations, Part 3:
"I have decided to use the talents God has given me and create wealth for my family and those around me."
- Think of my family and friends who will benefit.
- Think of the ministries we can fund and the saints we will serve.
- Think of our future friends we'll greet in the Kingdom.
- Think of the tens of thousands of lives we can touch.
- Think of the taxes we'll pay.
- Think of the business we'll generate and the people employed because of it.
- Think of my parents and the positive impact they've had as successful business owners.
- Think of the legacy we'll leave.
His integration of scripture and sound business and motivational principles will keep bringing me back. I am subscribing!
March 09, 2007
- Grace is the most powerful force in the universe. We are saved by grace, liberated by grace, and empowered by grace to love, live, laugh, and dream. We swim in a sea of grace not of our own making. God's grace not only compensates for our shortcomings, but lifts us and moves us to greatness.
- Within the context of grace and beyond our understanding, God honors and sometimes overrides the laws of the universe that He has created. His overrides are almost always in our favor and His enforcement is a source of blessing to all who discover and practice those laws whether in faith or in ignorance of faith.
- God is a dreamer. He has a dream for the world and a dream for each of us. It His desire for us to dream with Him. He is intentional about these dreams and the greatest significance in life comes from discovering His dream and living in it as we pursue it and give ourselves to it. In other words, it matters what God wants!
- Dreams are realities. They have lives of their own and they have legs. When we dream and follow our dreams, we activate divine laws that are extremely powerful and deeply fulfilling.
- Dreams without thought, commitment, and perseverance are pipe dreams and fantasies. Real dreams take work and time.
- The power of positive thinking is a scientific reality. More so, it is a divine invention. it is real because God made it real. It is not an ultimate reality apart from divine providence and declaration.
- You can often get what you want now by applying the principles that seem to be divorced from any specific commitment to God's will, like the Law of Attraction, but real fulfillment and eternal significance come only through aligning oneself with Him in an intimate and committed relationship. This is the message, ministry, and work of Jesus Christ.
- Whatever life is now, it can be more as we discipline and elevate our thinking, expectations, and faith and become true dreamers, committed to a vision that is grander than self or personal ambition. The sky is the limit. their is no ceiling to the greatness possible in your life.
September 19, 2006
I am surrounded by so much beauty and a bit more time than usual, but also the opportunity to benefit from some rare fellowship, conversation, and activity during this northern sojourn. I am being refreshed and challenged. So, I can write a few things that come across my mind by way of my heart. This week, I am mulling over some of the Proverbs. One of the issues that they are presenting to me this time around (going around them once a month for some time now) is the matter of the relationship between work, wealth, and witness. Today's chapter is 19.
1 -Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
Proverbs does not exalt poverty as a value in and of itself. In fact, there is much in the book about how to maximize our financial potential, but it is always held in perspective. We are to strike a balance. For instance, we are instructed not to wear ourselves out to get rich while we are being taught not to be lazy either.
The question of wealth is relative. It is broader than our finances, but generally refers, in Proverbs, to money or its equivalents. Yet, some things are for more important: wisdom, integrity, morality, righteousness, and sound speech. Without these, wealth is of very little value.
The fruit of our lips is vital to our witness and also reveals the character of our hearts. Character is valuable to us and to God.
2 - Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
We admire zealous people. The NIV translates the first part of this verse as "...zealous without knowledge..." Zealous people can sell almost anything to at least someone. They are often successful, sometimes overnight. But zeal without some basis in knowledge (read TRUTH here) is not good. Whatever your line, it is faulty if it is not real. Get real; be real; stay real. And don't get in such a hurry to be successful that you (a) don't get your facts straight and (b) do shoddy, sloppy, deceitful background work. That leads to sin.
Haste that sacrifices sound preparation and truth-seeking is dangerous and sinful. It is foolish according to Proverbs.
3 - The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
The fool is the person who hastens to embrace half-truths and outright falsehoods in the interest of success and expediency. He moves in the direction that his zealous impulses prompt him and crash lands. Then he blames God. The irony is that he never consulted God in the first place. He never even glanced in the direction of real wisdom. He was in too big a hurry to get where he was going and pursued delusion with passionate fumbling.
8 - He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
Seek truth. Seek guidance. Seek wise counsel. Seek God and His purposes. It is the purest form of self-love. It is the wisest sort of self-interest. It is the antithesis of sinking ones own ship.
15 - Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
Work hard without wearing yourself out. Fully engage. Hare e integrity in your work. Laziness feeds on itself. It doesn't start with genuine weariness, but it produces it. Lazy people wear out as fast as people who dork without replenishing their energy. This is one of the insights I am getting from "The Power of Full Engagement." Solomon and his friends knew it thousands of years ago.
16 - He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.
Of what use is wealth if you are dead physically or spiritually? Living our lives with contempt for all that is of real value leads to death. A high regard for God's truth leads to life.
Despising one's ways means that we live carelessly and work sloppily. If we desire to "keep our souls," we will seek the significance of even the most menial tasks we perform and do them the "right" way, fully engaged and sensitive to the commands that have been given us - especially through the scriptures.
17 -He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
Generosity is a good business decision and an even better life decision. It makes no logical business sense to be generous, fair, and just with the poor, but it makes a great deal of spiritual sense. If we believe that there is a God who rewards those who implement His principles of success we will reach out beyond what is expected and required. It will spill over into how we treat our clients, customers, employees, and the people on the street who do not have the ability to contribute to our success. God will repay and He will do it His way - which is the best way.
20 - Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep seeking. Don't stop listening. You will develop humility and you will gain wisdom. We really don't have many money problems, but we have loads of wisdom deficiencies. By the way, this kind of wisdom doesn't happen overnight, but if you expect to live awhile, you'll appreciate it when you come to the climax of your life.
21 - There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
Work hard. Plan well. Trust God. Keep an open hand and heart. Keep your plans and strategies tentative and sensitive to the movement of God and His intervention in your heart, mind, and circumstances. He will have the last word and if you can get some of that word ahead of time, it will work in your favor. Real success is God working out His purpose in and through your life.
Kick this up a notch. It is easy to make lots of plans and create elaborate schemes, many of which might work, but it is not prgmatic outcomes that we strive for; it is God's best.
23 - The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
Get your attitude toward and relationship with God straight. He is God. You are not. This is the elemental fear that is qualitatively different than all fears and casts them out. When you are rightly related to God as God and reverence Him, you will worry about nothing because you will know satisfaction at a new level. You will do your work carefully, purposefully, and enthusiastically. You will bear witness to God's sovereignty by obeying Him, to God's love by enjoying His gracious benefits and by loving others, to God's truth by living it, and to God's power by being a living demonstration of His ironies (first shall be last, last shall be first, etc ...). Then you will enjoy what wealth He bestows as He determines and defines. You will be satisfied and you will be like Teflon to the attacks of evil.
24 - A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible on laziness and industry. How many of us are hungry because we refuse to feed ourselves what has already been provided. "Blessed are the poor" is true. Our Master who makes all of this work in our lives by His redeeming grace said it and it is so. However, the kind of poverty He commended is not the kind that comes through sloth or indifference. It is more of an attitude than a bank statement. And if it is about our bank statement it is because of sacrifices we have made for His Kingdom at His behest.
There is no honor or blessing in laziness. Nor is there value in any lack of industry, goal-setting, dream-building, and complacency when we can do and be so much more for God in our businesses, ministries, and especially our personal development with Him.
25 -Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.
The wise person is willing to exert the energy to change and grow. The lazy man resents correction. It may require action.
If you want to go somewhere beyond where you are, it will require movement, the expenditure of energy, and some discomfort. It will also require that you hesitate long enough to get some direction. Once these are in place, move forward, willing to receive mid-course corrections.
But whatever you do, laziness is not an option.
I write this during a time of great relaxation and refreshment .
Several of my recommended products:
Something that is working well for my church and a non-profit on whose board I serve:
Fund raising program. We are have seen success and potential with Magazine fundraising with this link.If you don't need a fund raiser and just want to help an inner city church, click this link.
I must admit I get a little perturbed when people complain about lack of money and success when they haven't done the things that they can do to change their circumstances. When we operate on the assumption that the world or God Himself owes us a living when God has already given us opportunities, we limit means which He Himself may have provided for our support. I do not suggest that we veer away from a life of faith, but that we, especially those of us in ministry, at least lay before Him the question of whether or not He'd have us make a few tents along our missionary journeys. That is why I promote entrepreneurship, knowing it is not for everyone, but I suspect is for some who are not responding.
September 18, 2006
From my own reading today, I was challenged to fully engage in the work I have been given.
"One who is slack in his work is a brother to one who destroys." Proverbs 18:10 (New International Version)
Destructiveness is often seen as actively malicious behavior such as swinging an axe in a room full of glass, but the Proverbian suggests that passive aggression is just as destructive. He specifically refers to that passive non-behavior of the one who avoids, evades, and glosses over work.
What is destroyed?
If you are working for someone else, you destroy that person's business, perhaps little by little, perhaps in big blocks of potential productivity. Destroy his business and destroy his prospects for building a better life for his family and providing jobs and opportunities for others.
You also destroy your own reputation and prospects for future employability.
You could make a mistake through slack work that could cost lives as well as money. Time is lost. Dreams are flushed down the drain. Much is destroyed. It is dishonest and larcenous to withold work for which one is being payed.
Here is one not found in Holy Writ:
"Slack not lest thou be sacked."
If you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself, you destroy your own business, waste your investments, show contempt for your sponsors and mentors, stealing their time, and destroy relationships with your partners.
All of these things are true if you are alone in business, except that you are hurting yourself and your family most, but also all the people you could have helped, mentored, challenged, and inspired buy your success.
All of this stops short of acknowledging that God has a purpose in your work for which you need to be fully engaged and to which you must be fully committed in order to fully participate in.
September 16, 2006
Reflecting on the relationship between planning and implementing our work and the sovereignty of God over the affairs of humanity provided a framework for my daily reading in the Proverbs.
Proverbs 16 does not discourage planning; but it does make a case for holding everything with an open hand, tentatively, humbly, and with a comfortable tolerance for flexibility.
Plans are in the heart, verse 1 says, but there is some distance between the heart and the tongue and God has something to say about the final product. Start with the heart and let things gel. Think before you speak. Better still, think and pray. Margins are a necessity in business and in life.
Verse 2 ( Look these up) reminds us that no matter how innocent we believe our choices are, only God knows and can evaluate our motives or anyone else's. Lesson for business and life: Don't try to pass judgment on other people's motives. Deal with what you can know, what is before you.
Verse 3 is helpful. We can plan and strategize to our hearts content, but only when we commit our plans to God is success within view - real success, the kind defined by verse 4 - namely God working everhything out for His purposes.
The question implied there is, "Am I in or out of this deal? Either way, He will succeed."
Again, verse 9 mandates flexibility and verse 33 calls for humility. In the midst of it all, though, we are not to be passive because, along with flexibility and humility, real success require industry, otherwise known as a work ethic. The laborer is moved forward, prodded, and impassioned by his own hunger.
For a good treatment of work ethic see the article on Labor Day in the Faith at Work blog. Mike McLoughlin is reading our preacher mail when he indicts us for our silence on the dignity of work.
The bible is not silent here. Why should we be?
Proverbs 16 oozes the sentiment that God has the final word on everything, but that is no excuse not to plan, consider, commit, and work with integrity, humility, and flexibility.
June 13, 2006
I read a chapter in Proverbs most every day corresponding to the day of the month. I've been doing this for quite a while an have failed to exhaust all the insights that pop out of the page, grab me around the neck and shake the living daylights out of me.
Solomon was a successful leader who was not impressed with his own success. All he really ever wanted to be was wise. He authored or collected these sayings and they still ring true with such piercing relevance that they seem like they could have been written yesterday.
I do most of my reading and reflecting from the New International Version (c) 2002, International Bible Society.
This one grabbed me today:
13:4 - "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied."
So what is the difference between the desire of a dilligent person and the craving of a lazy person?
From the start, we nod our heads knowingly, acknowledging that this proverb is true. A craving is a carnal drive that overwhelms our judgment and woos us into reckless thinking and action.
C is for carnal because this drive is fleshly through and through. There is not accounting for satisfaction which transcends momentary instant gratification. Carnal cravings sabotage long-term goals which require delayed gratification. The desires of the diligent are long-term desires. The antidote to unbridled Carnality is Captitol. I'll need to explain this more later, but the successful and diligent business person is not trying to satisfy the momentary cravings of the flesh, but is attempting to accumulate intellectual, spiritual, and economic capitol to build a dream over the years.
R is for reckless because we will do anything to get what we crave if we are driven by our cravings. We will make bad decisions and sloppy choices. The sluggard's true desires cannot be satisfied because he does not make the kind of choices that move him steadily toward his goals. He has bursts of energy, but no tolerance or stamina for the long haul. He is recklessly lazy. He's work hard for a moment, but refuses to pace himself for a lengthy journey. Recklessness must give way to Responsibility.
A is for absorbed in self. Nothing outside of self matters, ones own desires, ones own needs, and ones own irritations and pain. You see the same sort of thing in 21:10 -. "The wicked man craves evil. His neighbor gets no mercy from him." He is too driven by self-absorbed cravings to have empathy and compassion for anyone else. Absorption is self must give way to natural Affect, as in the capacity to be touched in the heart and moved by the heart's response to another's pain and emotion.
V is for vindictive. When mercy is lacking, one keeps score of wrongs and a new craving emerges, an irrational desire for revenge and retribution even if it means sinking ones own ship. Instead of being driven by Vindictiveness, we need to be driven by Values.
E is for evil. Define it as you will. Some will argue that there is no evil in the world. That seems to defy any honest study of history or human behavior. All of us have areas of our lives where we are drawn to darkness because there are some things that appeal to us that are not good for us or for others. It is when we give into these cravings that evil begins to creep into our hearts. We loosen our standards and suspend our ethics and before you know it, we have an Enron-sized debacle. compressed into our own lives. We must replace Evil with sound Ethics if we are going to reach our long term business goals.
S is for selfish. "I want it all for me." "It's all about me." The sluggard cannot weigh the larger issues of what is good for the community or the team. Such an individual will cash out as soon as he or she has been immediately gratified. This person is not even concerned about the self she will be in ten years - only the self right now. He makes no provision for his future. She takes no thought of leaving a legacy. He makes no effort to contribute to society. As a result, he gets nothing - at least nothing of value or substance. Selfishness must be replaces by Selflessness. The diligent know that no person succeeds alone and gives time and energy to helping other people succeed, even if it is personally costly (and it always is - but it is also, always personally rewarding.) The outward focus yields inward rewards.
The desires of the diligent are focused on long term goals and dreams. The cravings of the sluggard are momentary and fading fast. Diligent people sacrifice a great deal for long term success, but lazy people sacrifice everything for instant gratification.
Well, that's what hit me between the eyeballs today. Perhaps together we can make something of it.
I found this at TheFathersHouse Online.org:
"Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the daydreamer desires, and has nothing to show for it: but the soul of the one who is perfecting their business shall be made fat.
In other words, if it is worth dreaming about then it is worth working."
Very insightful and impressive. I love the translation and application.
And a Prayer Application
This from novelist, Janet Rubin:
Please help me to be diligent to exercise this gift. Give me a vision of what I will be in the future if I work hard. Thank You for all You are teaching me on the way.