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Posts Tagged ‘assignment’

Accomplishments

July 1st, 2013

“I have glorified You on the earth.” John 17:4 NKJV.

Accomplishments only matter when they have eternal importance and consequence.

My thoughts and comments today are about “accomplishments.”

In one degree or another, you will be measured by your accomplishments. The Sunday paper evidences who and what society considers important. On the front page are the news makers, notable for their public contributions, or notorious for their public failures. The Financial section acknowledges those of acquired wealth and business success. The Sports section boasts the prowess of athletes who excel beyond others. The Social pages portray the enviable lifestyles and social connections of the wealthy and well known. The Entertainment section showcases the fleeting fame of celebrities. Your accomplishments may seem less worthy of public acclaim.

People wrongly measure themselves and others by arbitrary and inaccurate standards. The important thing you must decide is the qualifying standard by which you and your accomplishments will be measured. Jesus held little concern for people’s evaluation of His ministry. His words reveal His accomplishments, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” John 17:4 NKJV. Simple standards, easily evaluated, eternally consequential.

Jesus glorified God on earth. Everything Jesus did was to glorify God – Jesus’ manner of life, “I always do what pleases [the Father].” (John 8:29 NIV) – His words, “I speak to the world those things which I heard from [the Father].” (John 8:26 NKJV) – His actions, “The Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing.” (John 5:19 NIV) – and His values and priorities, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:30 NKJV. Such accomplishments are exemplary.

Jesus accomplished His assignment. Jesus looked to Father God with perfect confidence, “I have finished the work which You gave me to do.” John 17:4 NKJV. May it never be said of you as has been said of some, “When all is said and done, more was said than ever had been done.” Live to have no regrets. Promises are made but fewer fulfilled; plans considered but not implemented; eager beginnings yet meager completions; unfinished tasks defining uncompleted lives.

Accomplishments only matter when they have eternal importance and consequence. Invest your time, effort, money, and influence in people, not things; people matter eternally. What are you doing that will make the world a better place when you are gone? When you stand before God, every other accomplishment will pale in comparison, except for what was done according to His will, in His name, and for His glory. Jesus’ advice? “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . .“ Read Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.

At the end of life, others’ opinions matter little; God’s true evaluation matters entirely. May you hear God’s benediction of your accomplishments and benevolent welcome into His eternal fellowship, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:23 NKJV. John glimpsed a bit of Heaven and described those there with these words, “Happy are those who die in the service of the Lord! Yes, indeed. They will enjoy rest from their hard work, because the results of their service go with them.” Revelation 14:13 TEV.

My prayer for you today is that your accomplishments please God more than people.

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Godly Boundaries

September 24th, 2012

“Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us.” 2 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV.

Your boundaries include the expansive margins of God’s will and intent for your life.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Godly boundaries.”

Boundaries can feel like confinements when wrongly imposed by yourself or others. Sure boundaries also involve limitations; some of the limits of those are also protections. Within those protections are freedom and safety. It is true that, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Clear lines of what is yours and what is your neighbor’s contribute to neighborliness. A property line establishes where your rights begin and end, and where your responsibilities to respect and protect another’s rights begin.

Imagine the chaos of a world without boundaries. Boundaries determine legality, govern civility, and establish social propriety. Everyone lives with boundaries, even those who try to ignore or reject them. But within those is where your life is lived best, especially when the boundaries match the expansive margins of God’s will and intent for your life. Outside of those you might find success for awhile, but you will never have lasting satisfaction. You may achieve much, but never as much as you would have.

The Apostle Paul chose the analogy of boundaries when responding to others’ dispute of his spiritual authority, “We will not boast of authority we do not have. Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us.” 2 Corinthians 10:13 NLT. Paul was not describing some measure of restriction. Like Paul, your passion should be to achieve the full measure of God’s assignment – nothing more, nothing less. That would be a worthy goal for every one of us.

The will of God is not restrictive, except to protect you from harm or misdirected effort, therefore wasted energy, resource, and time. Godly boundaries both restrict and release you. They restrict you from where you should not be but release you to realize His highest aspirations within you. In fact, Paul expected, “Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you.” 2 Corinthians 10:15-16 NIV. God rewards faithfulness with expanding opportunities for an ever growing fruitfulness. As Paul was faithful in the measure of ministry entrusted to him, he anticipated opportunities for extended boundaries to “preach the Gospel in the regions beyond . .”

For most of us, the problem is not that God’s limits are constraining; the more common problem is a person’s failure to know and fully achieve the extent of His intent for you. Your God has great opportunities for you; but along with those come His expectations of you. “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.” Luke 12:48 NKJV. Be encouraged by this truth; with God’s expectations, the Holy Spirit will provide the natural abilities, spiritual giftedness, and ample anointing to achieve His expectations and fulfill your assignment. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Read Romans 12:1-2 NKJV. In the perfect will of God every fulfillment is found.

My prayer for you today is that your life will abound in fruitfulness.

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Right Thing To Do

December 21st, 2011

“It would not be right for us . .” Acts 6:2 NIV

“The easiest or familiar is seldom the best or right thing.”

My thoughts today are about the “right thing to do.”

I am not thinking so much about things right or wrong, as I am about differentiating between the good and best. It is often said that “good is the enemy of the best.” Something may seem to be good enough but good enough will never accomplish what’s best. Your best is always the right thing to do.

There will always seem more than you have enough time, energy, or ability to do; that could be because there are some things you aren’t meant to do. A successful life is found in knowing what is yours to do and doing that well; a highly successful life is reserved for those who also know what they are not meant to do, and leave those things to others. The latter is more important than you may realize.

Success eventually requires hard choices. The very abilities, effort, energy, and focus that brings success in your endeavors can be stretched thin by a growing diversity of demands and expectations. When you are feeling the pressure to do more than you have time or ability to do, demands and deadlines will sometimes clarify what is “your business to do,” and what is none of your business.

The first century Church in Jerusalem grew so rapidly that the apostles could not keep up with everything that needed to be done. There was a problem no caring person would deny; some people were not being taken care of in an equitable manner as others were. For this to be done should something else be left undone? Wisely, the apostles in charge evaluated the problem as proper food distribution to both Greek and Hebrew widows – reaffirmed the priorities as prayer and the teaching of God’s Word – and made a choice both wise and practical; this is something that must be done but can be done by others. Always do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.

Their reasoning? “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word of God to wait on tables. Choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them . . this proposal pleased the whole group.” Acts 6:2-5 NIV. Life is better when you keep it clear and simple. The apostles recognized that the investment of themselves in what had arisen would mean their neglect of what was their priority. While you busy yourself doing what someone else could do, you miss what you should do. Every responsibility is not necessarily your responsibility. “They made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have neglected.” Song 1:6 NIV. Multi-gifted people are especially tempted in this area. Knowing how and when to say no is as important as being willing to say yes.

You are more effective when you are occupied with the things that are right for you – that best fit your skill-set and are within your Godly assignment. The easiest and familiar thing to do is seldom the best or right thing for you. Few of us are given the luxury of opportunity and authority to always do what we would prefer to do, nor should we. Effectiveness comes with focus; focus comes from priorities. That’s where you find the right thing for you. The Apostle Paul determined, “I am focusing all my energies in this one thing . .” Philippians 3:13 NLT. See Psalm 27:4 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you do what you know God has given you to do.

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Your Gifting

May 6th, 2011

“A man must be content to receive the gift . . given him from Heaven.” John 3:27 The Amplified

“The path to your greatest success is found in doing God’s will.”

My thoughts today are about “your gifting.”

A lot of people are less successful than they could have been because they are trying to do what they want instead of what they should. You are not equally gifted for every endeavor; you can be successful in any endeavor for which God has gifted you. Success and satisfaction in life is found when you discover and do what God has called you to do, and that’s when and where you will also find your giftedness. Too much of too many lives is wasted by persons determining they want to do what they see some talented individual do easily and well, while they lack the preparation, abilities, commitment, and experience the other enjoys. Find what you are to do and be.

The path to your greatest success is found in doing God’s will. When you trust and follow God’s plan for your best life, you will be: willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience, enthusiastic to work harder and longer, and dedicated to learning the skills necessary to be the best at what you do. You and I do not know what we are capable of doing; God does. He made each of us exactly for that specialized task.

The disciples of John were jealous for him when the crowds started following Jesus instead. John’s attitude was, “A man must be content to receive the gift . . given him from heaven. There is no other source . . He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:27/30 Amplified Bible (See also 1 Corinthians 4:7 NLT). Are you content with what God has given you to do? John felt no aspiration for a place God had given someone else. His success was not diminished, nor his sense of achievement. In fact, upon John’s death, Jesus praised John, “Of all who have ever lived, none was greater than John.” Luke 7:28 NLT. John knew who he was and what He could do best for God’s purposes. He was happy to be himself, not vying for anyone else’s purpose, nor needing to compare or compete.

If you aren’t happy as yourself, you will be constantly competing with others, and/or comparing yourself with them. Paul is also a good example, “We dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12-18 NKJV. You were created as one of a kind; let your uniqueness serve God fully. Until you are content with God’s plan for your life, you will struggle to be something you aren’t and try things you are not best at doing, which can only lead to frustration and disappointment, not achievement.

I have observed that God’s assistance accompanies His assignment. I think we often misuse Paul’s words, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV. It seems like that wonderful promise is abused when the accent is more of your doing all things, rather than the reality of your complete dependence on His strength in all of things you do in His Name. It must be balanced with the truth of Jesus words, “Without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NKJV. Christ does not “strengthen” you to do whatever you want; He strengthens you in what He directs.

My prayer for you today is: desire all God has for you, nothing more, nothing less.

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Being Effective and Efficient

July 13th, 2010

“The number of the disciples increased rapidly.” Acts 6:7 NIV

“Every task that comes your way is not your assignment.”

My thoughts today are about “being effective and efficient.”

Everyone wants life to work well for them. When your life does not appear to be working, it is rather discouraging. Now, sometimes an area of your life may not work well because of inattention, or inadequate effort, or insufficient know-how. You can remedy what you lack more easily than you think. You can restructure priorities, work harder, or gain the knowledge and experience you lack. But if you increase your effort and give more time and still things aren’t working any better than they were, something has to be corrected; changes need to be made. Read Acts 6:1-7.

Today’s Bible passage describes a situation in the young church where they were being effective – “the number of the disciples was increasing,” but not being efficient – “being overlooked in the distribution of food.” A problem became obvious. With the growth, some were not receiving the care that they should. Something clearly needed to change. The question became this: who should be doing this?

Wisely, the apostles decided to identify what others could do well, allowing the apostles to continue doing what they did best, giving time and attention to caring for what God called them to do. See Acts 6:3-5 NIV. They were not shirking their responsibility; they were caring for a more important duty. The result? “The proposal pleased the whole group . . the Word of God spread. The number of disciples increased rapidly.” Acts 6:5/7 NIV. When they allowed others to do what needed to be done while they continued doing what they should do, everyone was happier, leaders more efficient in their efforts, and the church more effective in its results.

How does that apply to your everyday life? Ever hear of the Pareto Principle? I googled “The Pareto Principle” and found it is attributed to Wilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist in the early 20th Century. His premise is widely referenced in business still today that “20% of your effort produces 80% of your success.” Conversely, the premise suggests that 80% of a person’s efforts can be ineffective, contributing only a small portion to one’s success. Why would a person keep doing the same things that haven’t worked before?

Apparently, you can achieve more when you work smarter, nor harder. Identify relationships that do not work, and instead, invest in those that do. Maximize what you do well; minimize what you do not. Devote yourself to what God has gifted and called you to do. Every task that comes your way is not your assignment. If you can identify what is not working for you and apply a greater measure of your time, abilities, energy, and resources where you find the greatest fulfillment and reward, might you not be more effective?

My prayer for you today is that life works out well for you in the most practical ways.

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