The Finishing Touch
In the Bible we’re told to put on “… compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col 3:12, NIV)
In business its things like being disciplined, a self-starter and confident.
In friendship its about sharing sorrows and pain, being able to disagree and remain close and earning trust.
But in list after list, and as James puts it so well in the opening words of his book of the Bible, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:4, NIV)
I’d been struggling to write this post for a few weeks now. I’ve felt compelled to share it for several reasons, but the largest being that the last thing I ever did for my pastor Lorri Conover before she she went home to be with the Lord two months ago was to read her husband Ed’s favorite book of the Bible to her: James. It just wasn’t that until today I had the proper perspective and words to get my message in order.
Think of all the things that people want from you and then weigh that against what they really need. And I mean really, really need.
I spent three years working for a credit union doing presentations on financial literacy topics, stuff like budgeting, credit and identity theft. But one of my favorite things to cover when talking money was about the difference between wants and needs and how we have seriously screwed up the definition of these two words in our daily lives.
Ask yourself, “What do I NEED to survive?”
Go ahead, I’m waiting…
Got it? You should only have three things.
We need food and water to survive.
We need shelter to survive.
Clothing is a funny thing. We think we need it, but mostly because there are just a large group of us that no one wants to see naked. If you don’t believe me take a break from this post and watch the video below. You’ll see what I mean.
So yeah, we need clothing.
But what others want and really need from us is perseverance. They need to know that no matter how much they screw up, no matter how many dumb things they do, that we will still love them and need them.
If you claim the name of Christ in your life, then you’re going to face trials and tribulations. Those are just 65-cent theological words for you’re going to get hassled, picked on and single out. Be ready for it. Deal with it. But remember this – while God told us up front we’d suffer on account of Him, he also promised to be right there with us to help us get through it.
And it is getting through it that produces perseverance.
When I was younger I was graced with the ability to push through things athletically. I was by no means the fastest, strongest or most talented player on any team I ever played on. And if I was, we didn’t win a lot of games. But then again, Being the ‘big man on campus’ wasn’t my job description. My job on just about every team I ever played on was to push the guys in front of me and make them better. There was little glory in that, except for a strange cult-like following that gave me 20-foot posters in our gym with the nickname ‘Magic Gut’ in neon letters spray-painted across them.
Trust me, that nickname is a story unto itself.
As I’ve grown older I’ve found that persistence and perseverance have served me well. I’m certainly not always be the smartest guy in the room, but it just bugs me a little when people settle for less than what they are capable of.
‘Bugs me a little’ may not be the right phrase. Drives me out of my freakin’ gourd is probably more accurate.
As James goes further in the opening chapter of his epistle, he tells us that we can ask God for stuff that will make us better such as wisdom. But he admonishes us that “… the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV).
I like hats, and a crown is a pretty cool hat.
Perseverance, persistence or tenacity are not merely given, they are awarded. They are like a badge of honor that say you made it through this last task and I can make it through next one as well. It’s kind of like that line from Disney’s Aladdin, “You’d be surprised what you can live through.”
That same tenacity in life can be transposed into our business life as well. If we see a place or a product that God has called us to, we need to pursue it like it is the last thing we’ll ever do on earth. A calling is a calling, period. People have had some pretty weird ideas over the years that became multimillion dollar successes.
My favorite was the Pet Rock. A plain, smooth rock in a cardboard box with fake hay in it that people paid $3.95 in 1975 (which is $16.63 in today’s economy) that did NOTHING!
Even if you weren’t on drugs in the 70’s, you had to have been on something or been too close to someone who was to have bought that thing.
Every business opportunity, like everything in life, has to be evaluated. As much as we hate it and hope it will go away after high school, we have to do our homework on everything. We have to use our own eyes, ears and brain to look over whatever gets placed in our paths and make a decision as to whether or not we should get involved in it. We must be persistent, we must persevere to find all of the facts and not just settle when we feel comfortable or get the answer we’re looking for.
That’s how the government and scientists got us into the mess we’re in now.
So what got me so fired to finally get writing all this? Well, as ports typically does in my life, a Sports Center feature reminded me to get off my butt and stay in the game. I may not be a star, but I’m a vital part of the plan. If you don’t believe me, just ask God. He told me I have stuff to do and He probably has a few things on His list for you as well.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1
For those of you that are a little more musically oriented, I’m gonna close with one my favorite Petra songs from back in the day. Run for the Prize