We need patience to accomplish our goals in life. Even when our situation is not ideal, it is important to persevere and make the most of what we have.
Most of us experience times when we are frustrated with our jobs or feel so unappreciated that we want to quit. However, before making a rash decision, we should look to God and His Word for guidance. Basing our decisions solely on our emotions or circumstances is not a wise thing to do, because these are unstable. If we cannot stick to our tasks through thick and thin, we risk being “double-minded and unstable in all [that we] do.”1
When my boss agreed to let me start working from home, I was excited about the prospect and confident that I could do an even better job than working at the office, but he responded with a knowing smile, “Just remember, I may call sometimes just to see if you’re at your desk. Don’t let me find you in the kitchen!”—My boss knew my love for good food and cooking!—“Just be at your desk by 9:00 every morning, and everything will flow from there.”
Children—and many adults, including this one—love the story of Aladdin. Adventure, magical artifacts, good versus evil, and the ultimate success story of a beggar boy being transformed into a prince by an awesome genie. There’s something appealing about that easy success. Instead of having to discipline himself and work hard to succeed, Aladdin uses magic.
Often when people think of leadership, the image of the strong, self-assured, authoritative leader comes to mind—the man who uses his charismatic style to drive his team or company to success.
In today’s world, though, good managers realize that they can’t bring success to their business entirely through their own ideas, drive, and talents. Adopting and maintaining a sense of community is an essential factor in the progress of organizations, and a wise leader multiplies his efforts by relying on the capabilities and talents of his entire team.
In my junior year at college, I was elected coach of my fraternity’s football team. My first and most important decision was to appoint our quarterback (QB), the player (in American football) who calls the plays and organizes the offensive. I wanted a QB who would listen to my advice and who was respected by the other players, and of course, he also needed to be able to pass the ball, run, and be a good all-round athlete.
One of my favorite inspirational stories is of a young African boy who crossed over 3,000 kilometers of hostile jungle territory on foot because he had a vision and determination.
Legson Didimu Kayira was born in the 1940s to a life of total poverty in the Tumbuka tribe, Malawi, but he dreamed of studying in the United States. When he was 16, he decided to make his way on foot to Egypt and find work on a ship sailing to the U.S. He left home with only a small ax, a blanket, a map of Africa, a map of the world, and two books—a Bible and a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
I was chatting over Skype with a friend while watching the 4x100 m medley swimming relay at the Olympics, when something one of the commentators said stumped me. “What’s the ‘fly’leg of the relay?” I typed to my friend.
“The butterfly leg. The four strokes are: Fly, back, breath [sic], free.”
When prayer is less sweet and easy; when love is less animated and tender; when the presence of God is less evident and less consoling; when even outward duties are fulfilled with less facility and enjoyment; then faithfulness is greater when maintained under these painful circumstances, and that is all that God requires.
—François Fénelon (1651–1715)
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why … I succeed.
—Michael Jordan (b. 1963), American basketball player
Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
—Henry Ford (1863–1947), founder of the Ford Motor Company
Jesus said that the secret to happiness and success is to “seek the kingdom of God above all else,” but does that work today? Can we lead God-centered lives, do more than survive in this materialistic world, and still be ourselves? I believe we can.
To “seek the kingdom of God above all else” means to bring our priorities into line with God’s, so the first step is to honestly assess our values and goals in life.