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
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.
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.
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)
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 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.
“I’ve been so busy with life that I haven’t had time to think,” a terminally ill woman in her forties told me when I visited her at a hospice. “I realized while lying here that I barely know my husband, my children, or my mother-in-law, who also lives with us. I’ve been wrapped up in caring for them—shopping and cooking, doing their laundry, cleaning after them, helping them with their homework—and yet I can’t say that I really know what they are thinking or what they are going through. I can’t tell you when was the last time that I had a deep conversation with any of them.”
Over the years I have seen some dear friends be marvelously blessed by God. Some of these same people had previously gone through what seemed to be a series of incredibly trying times. They had faced a lot of difficulty, had been deeply disappointed, and hadn’t seen the fulfillment of their dreams and desires. From time to time, I would comment to my wife, Maria, “It will be so great to see them truly happy!” And the wonderful thing is, today nearly all of them are.