I stole the above piece from a friend of mine, who was once a pastor in our movement, called Erich Jordan. Erich now has a life-coaching practice called “The Coachman”. Anyone looking for excellent mentoring in life and successful self-management could do no better than to talk to Erich.
But I stole it also because I want to speak to you about it, following on from my previous blog. I have spoken about it often, in the lifestyle seminars I teach; in every one of the 3 books I have written; and in consulting work I have done for individuals, churches and businesses. As we enter the second quarter of 2018, it is probably overdue, but on the other hand it is never too late to start.
Last quarter I spoke about Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” The question is two-fold: 1. WHO made that heart sick? And 2. HOW is a dream fulfilled? Erich’s advice sums up the answers to those questions. Read on to see what I mean.
When Solomon became King of Israel, God invited him to ask for anything he wanted. As he contemplates his life, his calling and the huge task ahead of him, he replies:
“Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern Your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of Yours?”
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing My people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies – I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! (1 Kings 3:9-12 NLT)
As I said earlier, everyone is leading something or someone, even if only YOURSELF! But HOW are you leading whoever you’re leading? Wisdom has been well described as “knowledge in practice”. The Proverbs are the summary of that Wisdom for which Solomon prayed. So, let us, as leaders who want to faithfully lead ourselves, our families, our careers, churches or whatever, learn wisdom.
I hope that you have by now identified your dream, or hope for your year, your next 5 or 10 years, your children, your career or your life. Never stop “colouring in” the picture you hold in your heart. Refine it constantly, talk about it with those you lead and those who lead you. What is the dream’s fulfilment going to feel like, look like, smell and taste like? Picture it, as Abraham pictured a “city whose builder and maker is God”. Pray it, prophesy it, get excited about it daily. Make it SMART (Stretching; Measurable; Attainable; Recorded; Time-related). A dream without these features is more of a pipe dream. Make it into a Goal.
But then, translate the goal into a PLAN. This is not prideful, or worldly, as some fear it may be. God is emphatic on the point in this book of Solomonic wisdom. Here are some examples:
“We should make plans……counting on God to direct us.” (Proverbs 16:9) TLB
“We can make plans, but the final outcome is in God’s hands. “(Proverbs 16:1) TLB
“Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” (Proverbs 24:3-4) TLB
Planning is in fact commanded in the Bible. It is one of the functions of leadership. However, these three examples teach us that God’s leaders will always plan in “the fear-of-the-Lord”, holding their plans accountable to God and showing constant deference to God’s initiatives and correctives, and also for the fact that plans are never set in stone, but need to be see as a work in progress that may need to be adjusted as circumstances change.
…But after all the prayer, revelation, consulting, planning and faith in the world, the final aspect of leadership success is ACTION. Until we DO what we say we believe, our faith is “vain” or empty. Faith that is not acted upon is dead, useless, self-deception. When I ask someone what their goals are, I usually add: not what you WISH were true, but your GOALS, i.e. what you are doing something about TODAY in order to accomplish. If it doesn’t fit into your time and money budgets, and if you’re not doing something on a daily or weekly basis about it, it is not a real goal.
And if an unplanned, unenacted dream is not realised, your heart will still feel sick, but you can’t blame God for that. You will have made your own heart sick!
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