“A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on” — Proverbs 16:26 (ESV)
If you follow current events, you know the economic news is mixed. On one hand, the price of crude oil has dropped to its lowest in a decade or more, making a gallon of gas much more affordable. On the other hand, the falling price is creating a drag on the stock market. Unemployment as reported by the US government is below 6%, but there are still nearly 95 million Americans who aren’t working and who have given up looking or work.
So you may be one of those who is working or who is looking, or one of those who is waiting. No matter which category you’re in, I want to encourage you to stay hungry.
Rick Warren has observed that it is the nature of every living thing to grow. Mona Moon, a conference speaker I once heard, said it this way: “You’re either green and growing, or you’re ripe and rotting.” The point being that a desire to continue developing — spiritually, personally, professionally, intellectually — is righteous, and your cultivation of that desire will serve you well in good and bad economic times.
What Lifetime Are You Waiting For?
Bill Hybels, in his book Axiom, posed the question: What lifetime are you waiting for? For creative people who never get out of their sketchbooks, this question can get you moving. Wishes and dreams are useful, and having a big vision can motivate you to accomplish great things. But if all these dreams don’t result in actions on the part of the dreamer, they are just theory. Five years from now, the world will be the less for your failure to act today. And you’ll be five years older, regardless.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
The fear of failure can be powerful, but like most other fears, most of its power derives from the authority we grant to it. We grant authority to fear because we anticipate the consequences of a negative outcome. This is actually a good thing, as it keeps us from bobbing for french fries or cuddling with alligators. The trouble comes when we generalize this beneficial knowledge of consequences and we imagine terrible things resulting simply from our leaving our respective comfort zones.
If your imagination runs off with your courage, harness your imagination and make it do your bidding. Sit and think through the absolute worst thing that could happen — then think through how likely or unlikely that worst scenario is, and how you’d recover if the worst did happen. You may decide your fears were silly. Or you may decide that the risks are too great and the view isn’t worth the climb. In either case, you won’t give fear the last word, and you’ll make better decisions as a result.
Whose Life Is It Anyway?
God has given gifts and talents to each of us, and He means for us to put them to work. The biblical parable of the talents illustrates that God is looking for a return on His investment. This is the ultimate opportunity for authenticity, for true greatness. You discover your God-given purpose in part through what you love to do and take the next step. Then God opens the next step, then the next.
This isn’t a magic formula, it’s completely individual. All I know is that a man is rarely, if ever, called to be inert. If you’re called to make a difference by working at a low-paying job to be more available to do hands-on service, do that. If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s never been a better time to launch a business — just do your homework and get the expertise you need. If you’re already financially successful, look around and see what worthy work could use your financial acumen, your experience and or your financial support. And if you’re restless where you are right now, God can be in that, too. Do your best work and keep your antennae up.
So how about you? How are you committed to continuous growth in the things that matter? Add your comments below.