Love what you do

Colossians 3:23 NASB

You will know that your job is your “calling” when you do what you love, and love what you do.

Philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie said: “The average person puts only 25 percent of their energy and ability into their work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50 percent, and stands on its head for those few and far-between souls who devote 100 percent.”

Thomas Edison loved work. In his latter years he established Menlo Park, the world’s first factory for making nothing but inventions. It was a forerunner to the private research laboratories now maintained by so many large companies. At Menlo Park Edison promised to turn out “a minor invention every ten days, and a big thing every six months or so.” At one point he was working on forty-seven things at once. Other inventors may have been richer, but no inventor has ever been more enthusiastic or successful.

When you believe that what you do makes a difference, you have a different feeling about what you do. When you believe your job has worth in God’s eyes, you’re no longer vulnerable to the critics or dependent upon the cheerleaders.

Paul said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” (Acts 20:24 NIV). One of the last prayers Jesus prayed was “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4 NIV). If you are serious about pleasing God, make that your prayer too.

Soul food: 2 Sam 20:1-22:30; John 5:1-15; Ps 15; Prov 24:7

Should you invest?

Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV

Should you risk investing, or wait for a “lucky break” that could make you rich overnight? Solomon answers, “Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return” (v. 1 NIV). That means invest prayerfully and wisely, and be patient because it may take “many days” before you’ll get a return.

The get-rich-quick mentality isn’t scriptural. “Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land” (v. 2 NIV). So invest, but diversify; allow for market fluctuations. This is a play-it-wise approach, not a play-it-safe one.

Be faith-driven instead of fear-driven. Fear allows the unpredictable to determine your actions. Godly wisdom, plus faith, is the key to investing. Waiting for “the ideal time” will keep you paralyzed. Success isn’t in the absence of challenges, it’s having the wisdom to manage them and keep moving forward.

The Bible says, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” If you let the odds immobilize you, you’ll never sow – which means you’ll never reap.

The bottom line is this: Life is full of unknowns, and just “as you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb…you cannot understand the work of God” (v. 5 NIV). You don’t have to know it all or be able to predict the outcome. Just seek God, then act on the wisdom He gives you (See James 1:5). You don’t have to understand how He’s going to work on your behalf – you only need to believe He will!

Soul food: 1 Sam 18:1-20:29; John 1:1-13; Ps 92; Prov 22:24-25

Declare: “This is working for me”

2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV

In a survey, pollster George Barna reported that two out of three Americans refer to themselves as “casual Christians.” It’s an interesting term, but what does it mean? In essence it means uncommitted…hit-and-miss…when I feel like it. But here’s how Paul describes the Christian life: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (v. 7 NKJV). Note the word “treasure.” Paul treasured what God had put within him; he protected it, rejoiced over it, and maximized it. Does that mean the Christian life will be easy or trouble free? No, Paul continues: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing…the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (vv. 16-18 NKJV). Notice that “our…affliction…is working for us.” God uses life’s experiences – good and bad – to enrich, sharpen, deepen, and stabilize you. And here’s another important truth: What you believe and speak during difficult times determines the quality of your spiritual life and your future. “Since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke,’ we also believe and therefore speak” (v. 13 NKJV). So instead of seeing your situation as working against you, stand up in faith today and declare: “This is working for me!”

Soul food: 1 Sam 8-10; Luke 24:13-24; Ps 68:24-35; Prov 22:5-6

Discovering your calling (1)

1 Samuel 10:1 NIV

Here’s how Saul became Israel’s first king. He was out in the countryside looking for his father’s lost donkeys when he met the prophet Samuel. ‘Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us…but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.” Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?”‘ (1 Samuel 9:27-10:1 NIV). Saul went out looking for donkeys and instead discovered his calling in life. And it can happen like that for us too. God has a habit of calling people who are busy doing other things. James and John were mending their fishing nets, Matthew was collecting taxes, Elisha was farming, and Saul was out looking for his father’s lost donkeys. It was just another day for them. We can spend a lot of time worrying and stressing about what we should be doing with our lives. But sometimes God’s purpose for our lives become apparent when we least expect it. When the call comes, we can struggle to accept it. We doubt whether we’re really the right person. Saul did that too. He had said: ‘But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?’ (1 Samuel 9:21 NIV). Our social status and education levels don’t limit God. Neither does our fear. When He has a plan in mind for us, He’ll let us know and equip us to be able to do it. So if we’re stressing about what our purpose is, let’s stay faithful, keep serving Him, and believe that our time will come.

1 Kings 12-13; Mark 13:12-23; Ps 117; Prov 12:20-22

God and your money (6)

Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV

When it comes to God and your money: (1) When you do what pleases Him, He will bless you. Why? Because your actions prove that doing His will is more important to you than doing your own thing. “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:23 KJV). But there’s another side to the coin. When you knowingly don’t do what pleases God, He will stop blessing you. “Take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away” (vv. 28-29 NKJV). (2) God will show you how to make more money. He taught Joseph how to prosper in the midst of a worldwide famine, and bless the needy nations around him. And when the fish weren’t biting, Jesus showed the disciples where to find a boatload of them. On one occasion, they actually caught a fish with enough money in its mouth to pay their taxes! (See Matthew 17:27). God works through unlikely channels, and He wants you to depend on Him as the source for everything you need. The Bible says, “Remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.” The word “power” encompasses ideas, strategies, plans, relationships, and investments. Yes, God can send you an unexpected check in the mail that will solve your problem temporarily, but you should believe Him for a plan that’ll solve your problem long term.

Soul food: Heb 11:17-13:25; Mark 11:1-11; Ps 47; Prov 12:4-6