Archives for posts with tag: success

 

In the preface to his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster tells about his first appointment as pastor to a small church in a thriving section of Southern California. He saw this as his chance to show the denominational leadership and the whole world just what he could do. He imagined that this church would become “a shining light set on a hill. The people would literally flood in.”

He writes, “After three months or so I had given that tiny congregation everything I knew, and then some, and it had done them no good. I had nothing left to give. I was spiritually bankrupt and I knew it. My problem was more than having something to say from Sunday to Sunday. My problem was that what I did have to say had no power to help people.  I had no substance, no depth. The people were starving for a word from God and I had nothing to give them. Nothing.”

It is easy for us to be busy, even doing the work of the Lord, but forget to nurture our own spirits and care for our own souls. One of the pitfalls of modern living is the tendency to channel all our time and energy into our “work” and neglect our “walk.” Without attention to our spiritual well-being, the results are likely to be like Foster’s experience. We find ourselves empty and exhausted. Or we can easily succumb to the seduction of success rather surrender ourselves to lives of significance.

The prophet Isaiah has words of instruction for us: “God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles. They run and don’t get tired. They walk and don’t lag behind.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31, The Message))

Dear God, help us not to get so caught up in our work, whether it be for You or for our own self interests. Enable us to realize that our “doing” must not take precedence over our “being.” During these days of Lent help us to realize that our strength and purpose comes from  our relationship with You.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

Advertisements

Helen Hayes was often introduced as “First Lady of American Theater” for her outstanding accomplishments on stage and screen. She is one of only 15 people who have collected an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.

Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In 1988, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Ms. Hayes began her stage career at an early age. With her mother’s encouragement she attended dance classes as a youngster and made her stage debut as a five-year-old singer at Washington’s Belasco Theater, on Lafayette Square, across from the White House. At age nine, she made her Broadway debut as Little Mimi in the Victor Hugo operetta Old Dutch, and at age 10 she was cast in the one-reel film Jean and the Calico Cat.

Early in her life Ms. Hayes’ mother gave her this advice: “Achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that’s nice too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success.”

According to her daughter-in-law, Hayes took the most pride in her philanthropic work with Helen Hayes Hospital, a physical rehabilitation hospital located in West Haverstraw, NY. She was extremely proud of the strides the hospital made toward the rehabilitation of people with disabilities, saying, “I’ve seen my name in lights on theater marquees and in letters 20 feet tall on Broadway billboards, but nothing has ever given me greater sense of pride and satisfaction than my 49-year association with this unique hospital.”

The life of this famous actor is a reminder that success might make one happy whereas achievement makes one proud. George Washington Carver said, “There is no shortcut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.” Dr. Bo Bennett agrees, “The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself.”

Writing in Forbes Magazine, Jim Blasingame says that “Today success is synonymous with celebrating at the finish line, holding the trophy or the check, while achievement has more of a work and effort connotation.” However, he suggests that we build “more memories of the journey of work and effort toward your goals than of the high fives at the end.” He concludes by saying, “No one lives their life in the winner’s circle. Strive for success, but focus on achievement.”

As followers of Jesus Christ we are not called to be successful but we are expected to apply ourselves and do our best at everything we do. The Apostle Peter instructs us to do everything so that God will be honored (I Peter 4:11). The Apostle Paul also emphasizes that everything we do should be for the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

Lord, help us to live as faithful disciples striving to be the best we can be always seeking to serve others.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

I learned something in church a couple of weeks ago. That happens regularly for me. Although I have heard thousands of sermons, some very good and some very bad, I often hear something new or understand a well-known principle from a different and helpful perspective.

In his sermon the preacher mentioned an exercise that Stephen Covey suggested in his very influential book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, published 29 years ago. It has sold more than 25 million copies and continues to be one of the more significant offerings of the self-help genre.

Covey promotes what he labels “the character ethic“- aligning one’s internal and subjective values with external natural laws and timeless principles.  He insists that our values govern our behavior while principles, or natural laws, determine the consequences.

A key influence on Covey’s thinking was his study of American self-help books that he did for his doctoral dissertation. Most self-help books at the time focused on personality with an emphasis on public image, how you dress, how you perform in social interactions, positive mental attitude, skills and techniques to get people to behave in certain ways. He reacted to the emphasis on “the personality ethic.”

The author of this incredibly influential book believed that a person’s character rather than their personality was the driving force behind success. He suggested seven principles, or habits, that shape our lives.

Russell Marion Nelson Sr., an American religious leader and former surgeon, in a speech entitled “Begin With the End in Mind” speaking from his medical training said, “An elective incision is never made without planning to close it. The same principle is generally applicable in all fields, however. Track stars don’t begin a race without knowing the location of the finish line.” In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey agreed.

According to Covey, “Begin with the end in mind” is Habit #2 of highly effective people. In addressing this practice the author presents an intriguing exercise. He suggests that you imagine you are at your own funeral. There are four people that are going to be speaking about you at your funeral.  One is a close family member (brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.), one is a close friend, one is someone you worked closely with, and the last is someone from your community (charitable organization, church, local government, social club, etc.).

Now write down what you would want each person to say about you at your funeral.  Think about all the things for which you want to be remembered. The object of this exercise is begin at the end of life and work backwards. What are the qualities that you want people to remember after you are gone? Once you decide how you want to be remembered then you begin to let those values shape your everyday life.

In an interview promoting The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama said to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, his co-author and friend, “I imagine I will see your face at the moment of my death.” Archbishop Tutu had lived such a life that his friend would remember him with fondness.

As the Apostle Paul neared death he said, “I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7, GNT). Is that the way you want to be remembered? Is that what you want people to say at your funeral? More importantly, is that what the God of all Creation will say?

Now is the time to assure that others will have good things to say about us and The Master will say, “Well done!” The best way to be sure is to begin with the end in mind.

Jamie Jenkins