When something big happens in your life – people notice and ask a lot of questions. Some questions are from curious onlookers who simply want to know the facts. Other questions come from people who are following behind you and want to know the path you have taken. Stepping away from paid employment is a BIG thing – and now that I have done it – people want to chat about life and work. Unemployment is also a form of retirement. So, sharing ideas and information has enabled me to help others. Not through my particularly clever mind – rather I am a “noticer” and collector of great ideas! These ideas are gathered from people, books, ministries and events that have helped change my thinking and life.
Maybe stepping away from paid employment isn’t the path for you. Or can’t be your reality – so what about work? Do you want to find meaning in your work and joy in your vocation? Whether you are unemployed, underemployed or looking for more significance in your work there is hope.
We are created to work and our work can honor God, satisfy our souls, and change the lives of people around us. Does that sound too good to be true?
If you have ever witnessed a child at play, you know that there are moments when their gifts and talents are demonstrated spontaneously. These God-given passions, talents, and abilities often lead to our work. But how do you find work that satisfies?
God’s word provides enlightenment in the Old Testament from the wisest man who ever lived: King Solomon.
That every man finds pleasure in his work- This is a gift from God.
As well, Paul who had an encounter with Jesus shares:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
What makes a person have influence? Don’t mistake status for influence. Status is a measure of accomplishment, competence or financial success. Influence is something much deeper with greater consequences. Influence changes behavior, ideals and opinions. If you have it, use it wisely. If you don’t let’s figure out how you can gain it. Leaderships is influence and if you want to have greater meaning to your life, regardless of your role, take the time to learn more.
When do people fail in having influence? Here’s an example. Yesterday I met with a highly successful famous businessman who has invested a million dollars in a product with a terrible user interface yet wonders why no one will use his product and service. What he’s really dealing with, is not just a sales problem but an influence problem. He has no influence in his chosen market.
While we can’t make people buy our products or services, we can influence nearly everyone. Influence is the essence of true leadership. By this definition Jesus was the greatest leader ever lived. What did Jesus have to say about having great influence?
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.
Your family is precious. It is amazing to witness the passion and devotion that parents have for their children. Your spiritual growth as a family is your responsibility as a parent, are you passionate about it? I often wonder how to experience spiritual growth for my family. With over 400 hours of waking time, not spent at work each year, we all have a lot of spare time. But how do we make the most of it?
Learning and growing together as a family can be accomplished in ways that are enjoyable and maximize the use of your time with your children. Since 70 – 80% of people have a preference to oral learning, why not learn through listening? Sit back, relax and enjoy a fictional story that has a lot of wisdom to share.
King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived said it this way:
He who walks with the wise grows wise.
Can you think of something that we all avoid, that is actually good for us? No, it’s not exercise, or diets….it’s hardship! Growing up, I often heard from my father, that enduring hard things would be “good for me”. Hearing it regularly didn’t make it any easier to accept. But, have you noticed that we often intuitively root for the underdog? Many well loved movies and famous stories are ones where perceived weakness triumphs.
Often we see ourselves as the underdog where we think we are too tall, too small too short ….the list of shortcomings is seemingly endless. Fears and doubts can rule our lives. What makes some people succeed and others fail? When could a perceived disadvantage actually help us in the long run?
Understand the battle of the underdog by reading or listening to; David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell begins with the biblical story of David and Goliath. Gladwell historically explains how it is entirely reasonable that David could have easily won and why. All battles are not what they seem. This is important because conflicts, obstacles and disadvantages can actually serve to spur people on to success.
In the Biblical account of the story,
the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
1 Samuel 16:7
It is commonly understood that when you make an investment you expect a return. Just like investing, giving has its returns…..or rewards. Does that surprise or offend you? Many of us believe that since “you can’t take it with you” our giving should be done with abandonment. Give it and forget it!
But what if we had a more intentional giving strategy, one with deeper convictions and greater consequences? If you are a Christian and believe in God and heaven, the rewards are for you. The Bible is full of instruction and examples of how our giving and stewardship in this life will be rewarded in heaven. Think of your giving as sending it ahead to be rewarded. Randy Alcorn, in The Law Of Rewards helps us understand how this is done. Don’t miss out on the best investment!
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6:20 NIV
Swimming upstream; going against the grain and thinking outside the box! Confronting issues by stepping outside my comfort zone has helped me find new solutions to the many problems I face. Problems often mask opportunities. But thinking differently has risks and we often are fearful of the unexpected outcomes.
But what if there was a way to learn how to think outside the box to help you succeed? Is it possible to take risks, think differently, be an individual and stand out from the crowd – even when faced with the same problems as others?
Jesus talked about standing out ….
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.
Learning and changing your thinking does change your life, but first hand experiences take the thinking into action. Discovering how you can use your abilities, strengths and resources for purposes outside yourself leads to life changing impact for yourself and the people you encounter along the way.
Discovering through first hand experiences has been the life-changing event that opened my eyes to the needs of the world around me and the organizations that are making an eternal difference in these needs. Through an umbrella organization called 410 Bridge, www.410bridge.com our family is planning a trip! As a development agency, based in the U.S, the people at 410 Bridge work alongside local people to transform lives and enable individuals to utilize their God-given gifts to help create sustainable change in Kenya, Haiti and Uganda.
Embracing other organizations and working together, this collaborative partnership approach seeks to address 6 key areas of need in the communities.
One of my personal coaching strategies is to begin with laying a foundation about goals. Unanimously people affirm the power of written goals yet few are able to articulate their own.
“You need a plan to build a house. To build a life, it is even more important to have a plan or goal.” – Zig Ziglar
Lack of written goals surprises me. Most people know instinctively written goals would help them have a target. Yet aimless wandering leads to many unfulfilled lives led in quiet desperation.
Goal setting can change your thinking and change your life. I’ve been setting and achieving goals my whole life. Now I help others do the same. Problem is most people have never been taught how to write goals. How can that change?
Prophets generally make observations about the present and predictions about the future. Being a Christian I believe there is truth in the prophet Isaiah’s observations. Known as the “Shakespeare of the Bible” for his poetic style and rich vast vocabulary, he wrote,
“But the noble man devises noble plans; And by noble plans he stands.”
Most people are looking for the cue from others when it comes to giving. Consider some of the recent campaigns for various causes that have gone “viral” – people follow leaders in giving. But many don’t know what it means to enjoy generous living. Despite the viral campaigns that catch our attention the facts remain, tax returns show only 23% of Canadians give anything at all. Truth is generosity brings contentment. Generosity breaks the bond of materialism and discontentment.
Generosity provides meaning and purpose……that means that 77% of Canadians are discontent!
Generous living directs your focus on one goal: Be rich towards God.
Consider the clear picture Jesus portrayed in the parable of the Rich Fool.
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
‘Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’
‘But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
‘This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.’
Luke 12:16 – 21
Being generous is often overlooked as one of the greatest attributes of a human being. Achievement and status are the measures of our culture. Being truly generous involves self sacrifice and giving to make a difference. But sometimes I wonder why I should give. I wonder, will it really make a difference?
I imagine there are times where you weren’t sure why you should give either. We think it’s usually just a small amount of time or money and the world is so big, the problems and challenges so daunting. The truth is we can all make a difference.
Go to www.GenerousGiving.org to watch stories of inspiration, meaning and hope on giving. Or visit www.ilikegiving.org to watch more stories like… I Like My Dad. Or take the 3 Day Giving Experience.