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.
Imagine running a relay race. Each person has to be individually competent but the thing that can trump the whole race is the hand off. Drop the baton and the team is disqualified. If you have a family business you are in a unique position to hand off to the next generation a great opportunity. Sadly, many experience heartache when passing the business on to their children: businesses fail but more importantly families are ruined, broken apart by unrealized expectations and misunderstanding.
Family business succession is an important topic because it affects many of us, indirectly. In the United States, family businesses employ 60% of workforce. In Canada the number is closer to 50%. Worldwide, in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries – including France, Mexico and Sweden – more than 90% of businesses now have fewer than ten employees and are family businesses.
As Thomas William Deans says in Every Family’s Business, handing off a business is largely about setting realistic expectations, avoiding surprises and just plain communicating, and this can happen many, many years prior to the turnover of the business. Through this fictional story based on the real life events in 3 generations of the author’s family, you can discover some essential steps.
Movies, novels, and folklore have all influenced what you think about heaven. If you believe in heaven or not, you have some ideas about what it will be like. Every major religion has a view of heaven, but what about Christians? What do they think heaven will be like?
John Eldridge describes in The Journey of Desire, an image I can relate to.
“Nearly every Christian I have spoken with has some idea that eternity is an un-ending church service… We have settled on an image of the never-ending sing –along in the sky,….. And our heart sinks. Forever and ever? That’s it? That’s the good news? And then we sigh and feel guilty that we are not more ‘spiritual.’ We lose heart, and we turn once more to the present to find what life we can.”
Is that true? What will Heaven be like? Where do we go when we die? We all want to know what the destination after this life will be like.
I believe God has placed within all humans an understanding of the eternal. We all have a sense that we will live forever somewhere. But what specifically happens after death? Where do we go?
Jesus provides illumination in his words of comfort to his disciples before his death.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?
In the movie Pay It Forward a fictional social studies teacher gives an assignment to his junior high class to think of an idea to change the world for the better. Then put it in action.
One student passionately contrives a plan of paying forward good deeds for 3 other people. Choose the people do the good deeds. The story unfolds his actions which not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but also starts a wave of human kindness that grows into a national movement to change the world.
A feel good movie that stirs in everyone who watches it the good intentions to put the concept into practice. It’s exciting to think that a small act on our part can have big and far reaching impact. But for many that intention just fizzles – it gets parked along with the other “someday” to-dos. That’s how it used to be for me. But I’ve learned something.
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.
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.”
Think of a word that is used in science, math, psychology, politics, religion, business, society, social media and medicine …..the purpose of the word creates understanding, context, expectations and changes outcomes…..it’s….
Between numbers, principles of matter, chemistry, business, the economy and so much more…..RELATIONSHIP is the important factor which helps us understand the world around us. How things interact with one another? How they are affected by one another? Let’s focus on people…..I am not a psychologist or an expert in human behavior but recently I came across an incredible statistic: 76 million Americans have no one to confide in. That’s 25% of the population. In a world where everyone is connected digitally, people are not connected relationally.
I was no different. Driven as an entrepreneur and businessperson, I had many friends but few people to trust with the inside story…..the truth about my life.
Eventually, there comes a point where we can all identify with having “needs”. Freud believed mans greatest need was pleasure. Victor Frankl believed it’s a pursuit of meaning and purpose. 18th century pastor Charles Spurgeon thought mans greatest need is “the willingness to know and be known”.
If relationships are so important…..on what basis can we have real relationships with God and others? Jesus’ brother James gives illumination.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:7
At 25 years old I was a young entrepreneur with my own company . At 36 I, thought I’d arrived at the pinnacle of success. After all, the company had won lots of awards locally, provincially and eventually we even won Americas best Builder in the U.S.
Pinnacles have a way of bringing you to a perspective that can make or break you – giving you perspective on life and reality! The truth was I was spiritually empty. I started searching for something bigger than success, more important than money and more lasting than homes. I’d vowed never to argue over money like my alcoholic parents so success in business was my life’s pursuit. But achievement was a lonely companion.
In my heart I knew there was a gap. A gap between what fulfillment I expected and what I was experiencing. At 36 years old, I had not accepted responsibility for my own personal and spiritual development. My commitment to Jesus as a teenager hadn’t matured. We started attending church, which certainly helped but I knew there was more.
I was afraid of my next step: reading the Bible. Falling into the trap of thinking…..
“You can’t read the Bible. It’s like a marathon. It’s too big. It’s for pastors and intellectuals, or retired people with too much time on their hands. It’s intimidating. It’s too challenging. You’ll never understand it.”
How many of us look back on our childhood and wish we’d been taught more about money? More than two thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Many parents are not doing a great job themselves. Many find it an easy subject to avoid.
Sadly, most people leave home and graduate from university without any idea how to manage money never having been taught personal finance. It doesn’t have to be that way!
For me, it starts at home. I believe in leaving my kids a rich inheritance. However, it has nothing to do with money. Instead, it means teaching my children to be financially literate; to be Balanced financially.
Many have encouraged me; it’s better to build boys than mend men. Solve the problem before there is one. Help children avoid the pain of following a consumer driven lifestyle. Instead follow God’s plan.
God wants us to make a difference, financially, in our family tree. If we don’t teach children these most basic, critical life skills, they’re going to struggle with this problem their whole lives. Money problems are the leading cause of kids dropping out of post secondary education and the leading cause of divorce.
The Bible’s says more about money than any other subject. God inspired the apostle Paul to write theses illuminating words.
It is required of a steward that he be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2