When you watch a movie or read a book it summons a response from you. Some you either love, hate or are unaffected by. You’re engaged by the characters and themes or disenchanted with who they are and the lives they live. What if your life was unveiled as a “story”?
Did you know the most impactful and memorable are based on true-life stories? As Joseph Campbell mentions in The Hero With a Thousand Faces it’s human nature to relate to story.
Up until this year my life story was concealed, shared only with those who lived it alongside me. Most of us share safe “bullet points” – basically demographic information that keeps us in a safe zone because we fail to understand the impact of our own story or know how to live a better story. If you think that you are watching a badly lived life unfold before you watch this 2-minute video called A Better Story.
Learning to live and tell a better story are skills we can learn.
Doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time is the sweet spot of success. Sometimes being stretched by too many tasks in life others are making the choices for me and I bet it’s the same for you. We often confuse being busy with being productive with little Margin. Accepting every opportunity, squeeze in one more commitment, one more phone call, one more email. We operate on the principle of scarcity rather than abundance and are tempted to take everything on all at once! Change your thinking and it will change your life.
In ancient times, Moses father in law Jethro was the first life coach and business consultant. Watching Moses exhausting himself judging all the Israelites, he suggested the appointment of others to handle the simpler cases and freeing Moses to judge the complex ones.
Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.
Earn, invest, and spend! Giving and being generous were not part of the conversation. A culture of consumption led me down a self absorbed road for a long time. Even though there’s been a shift towards generosity and giving in our culture, it’s a small step towards a great goal. Truth is most people don’t know how to give. That was me – 35 years old and self serving. Self examination doesn’t show us how greedy we are…..you can’t see it in the mirror.
Has anyone taught you how to be rich by giving? Society, culture, TV, advertising taught our parents to want it all and to overspend to get it. This left them with little to be generous with. Few schools teach how to give. Then fear of the future robs us of our desire to give and be generous. Often we don’t give as we value security, not only materialism, hoarding our possessions. There is often competition for Lordship in our lives between God and money.
How can you change? What’s the process?
Start with the foundation…..
Jesus himself reminds us, “…you cannot serve both God and money”.
Then consider the real security in life…..
“Therefore, do not worry about your life”
Jesus assures us we don’t have to worry about our life because God’s promised to take care of us.
……further Jesus teaches in verse 33,
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Then start praying…..
God what do you want me to do with all you’ve entrusted to me?
We talk a lot about growth in our culture. Personal growth, economic growth, population growth and more! In the church these days we use language that is sometime confusing – after all, what does it mean to have a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. I just returned from a Build-Up Conference and it seems to me, we need to shed some light on this phrase.
God provides illumination in the words of Jesus in the story of the Roman centurion who demonstrated such great faith it was preserved as a model in the Bible.
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Stop looking around, over your shoulder or to social media to find a hero. Look in the mirror instead. You were created for a purpose and your life has meaning. Do you consider doing something unimaginably courageous? You can make a world of difference.
Whether you’re a Christian or not, doing this one thing will make you a hero and make a difference to the lives of millions of people! If you’re a Christian, even better, because we’re called by God to make disciples in all nations.
Three years ago, in a small rural Kenyan village, I saw a glorious thing. A dug well that provided water for thousands of villagers. But horror hit me when I took two steps and was introduced to the graves of the patriarchs of the village. Grandma and Grandpa were buried within feet of this precious water source were decomposing and turning this precious well into a contaminated water source that was killing villagers. The image continues to haunt me.
Recently there has been a trend in my life, where people I meet have one basic problem – they think “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Whether they are affluent or not, they feel trapped in their life and look with envy at those who are successful, fulfilled and inspired in their lives.
Is there a gap for you? Between where you are and where you want to be? Is your income and personal success lacking?
The solution may not be in changing jobs, going back to school, or in winning the lottery, but simply in “seeing” with new eyes what you already have. I didn’t come from a wealthy family, don’t have a lot of post-secondary education nor have ever, or wish to, win the lottery. I saw opportunity all around me and went after it. Opportunities in business and in a supportive family that were unearned, unmerited favor; I attribute to gifts from God.
How does perspective on your side of the fence and the opportunities you have been given affect you?
A thought from the Bible on this:
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Most people in the world operate with a 1 to 1 approach to life. One hour work equals one-hour pay. Productivity is limited by the number of hours in a week. Productivity isn’t always focused and without a life plan priorities are often missed.
Successful entrepreneurs are not like most people. Never content to settle for a 1 to 1 relationship between efforts and results they achieve far higher levels of productivity. We all know someone whose productivity is outstanding.
The problem is if you’re already working as hard as you can, you’ve hit a limit on what you can produce. So how do they do it? How can you learn to increase your productivity?
Jesus provides the answer. In his first and most famous teaching metaphor, the Parable Of The Sower (Mathew 13:1-23) Jesus describes four different scenarios in which an investment, in this case seed, produced significantly different levels of productivity.
Can you imagine what your life would be like if you didn’t imagine? Seriously, complicated or simple our lives can be influenced by what we imagine. Strategically we call this vision. Our vision, passion and purpose are of utmost importance. Most people’s biggest deathbed regrets could have been avoided if they’d thought about vision, passion and purpose.
But what if you are doing your best? Isn’t that good enough? NO! This isn’t about effort or intentions, it’s about your vision, purpose and passions coming together to guide your efforts.
Everyone ends up somewhere. Few people end up somewhere on purpose. Many people spend their days and even lead organizations with only a sense of plodding along and not working with vision, passion and purpose. Are you ready for a change?
God through King Solomon, the wisest and richest man who ever lived provides us with truth.
Where there is no vision the people perish
Proverbs 29:18 KJV
It’s time to get personal and share with you some of my journey to redirecting my own story. Wondering about how to make a difference? Want to redirect your journey?
In Finding Your Purpose, by Regi Campbell, an eBook on his blog Radical Mentoring there is a simple analogy; “if your life is a dollar bill, what are you spending it on?’ The average person meets over 10,000 people during their lifetime. That’s 10,000 opportunities! It’s often small things that are done that accumulate to a big difference. Don’t overlook the little things!
Young or old, we all wonder if our life is going to make a difference? We all want to find purpose in life and make our lives count for something. But how do we find out where to invest our time and our money? It’s not enough for us to do our best. We need to figure out God’s plan for our lives and THEN do our best. But where do you turn to for insight?
God through the apostle Paul provides illumination
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
Some stereotypes are almost impossible to escape. Think of all the sales industries that try to come up with names for their employees that mask their true identity! Executive consultants, advisors, experience managers, development directors…..the list goes on. A tacky suit and a pushy approach are usually equated with sales and regardless of venue we all push back against the idea that we are being “sold” something.
In reality one in four of us are in sales or service industries. But so are the other three.
Whether we send email, sell something on eBay, pitch ideas to coworkers, are entrepreneurs enticing investors, or parents and teachers encouraging children to study, we spend up to forty percent of our days persuading others. Almost everyone is engaged in “non-sales selling.” As a result, we wrestle with the tension between selfish “selling” versus selflessly serving others.
Being a Christian I think there’s a basis for understanding this problem. Peter, who hung out with Jesus, provides illumination.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10