Greg McKeown is the author of an excellent book entitled essentialism. Greg contends that the disciplined pursuit of less is a major key to success. Lin Yutang says, “The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” From this premise, McKeown lays out a compelling case which helps us understand why it is important to: say “no” and not overextend; prioritize our lives; exercise the power of choice; discern what is important; know when to make tradeoffs; know when to play and to sleep; know what to select and what to eliminate; set boundaries and focus; etc.
My good friend Dan moved from Tigard to Albany Oregon to work with Dana, another mutual friend. Unfortunately, Dana’s business experienced a downturn and he had to let Dan go. In 2012 Dan felt led to stay in Albany and serve as an Associate Pastor in a Calvary Chapel.
Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a significant book entitled Necessary Endings. Cloud wrote, “When we fail to end things well, we are destined to repeat the mistakes that keep us from moving on.” He shares observations why pruning may be essential for an organization to move forward; why many leaders struggle to understand that endings are a natural season in life; the difference between pain with a purpose and pain for no good reason; hoping versus wishing; three kinds of people; creating urgency and motivation for change; how to handle resistance; and, many other excellent insights that best position leaders to succeed in the future.
Lisa was quite frustrated with Jacov. He and his wife were not in agreement when it came to living sensibly. She wisely stewarded resources while he grew up living lavishly. Their arguments over finances and possessions put significant strain on their marriage. His lack of preparation and impatience often caused them unnecessary challenges. Finally, in desperation to bring peace, Jacov found a marriage counselor that he and Lisa could go to for help. To their surprise, the counselor actually made their sessions pleasant and more importantly, he equipped them with ten guidelines to help them live sensibly. He encouraged them that if they both observed these recommendations they should have less friction and fighting in their marriage
Mary was in the process of leaving physical therapy in her car in a parking lot. She looked to her right and saw nothing but didn’t look to her left. As she began to pull out the oncoming driver laid on the horn letting Mary know her displeasure. Mary quickly realized her mistake and put up her arms to acknowledge her error and rolling down her window told the other driver, “I’m sorry.”
Later as Mary was pulling into a fast-food restaurant she noticed the woman she had almost cut off was in line in front of her. When it came time for Mary to drive up to the window and pay for her food the attendant said the woman in front had paid for her meal!
The dictionary uses the following definition for the word discretion—“1. the power or right to decide or act according to one's own judgment; freedom of judgment or choice . . . 2. The quality of being discreet, especially with reference to one's own actions or speech; prudence or decorum.” Discretion seems to be an increasingly neglected concept in our society. More and more people freely express their opinion or take action either with little prior thought to the consequences or with the deliberate decision to cause harm. For example, on Columbus Day, a national holiday, police in New York City have to protect statutes erected for Christopher Columbus for fear that people will vandalize or destroy them. Instead of taking into account the pride that Italian Americans have in a famous explorer, protestors feel justified in defacing or tearing down his monuments because of the perceived harm he caused to native Americans.
Ezra 4:1-4--When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple for Yahweh, the God of Israel, they approached Zerubbabel and the leaders of the families and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we also worship your God and have been sacrificing to Him since the time King Esar-haddon of Assyria brought us here.” But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the other leaders of Israel’s families answered them, “You may have no part with us in building a house for our God, since we alone must build it for Yahweh, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.” Then the people who were already in the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build.
Jackie called her friend Sandy and informed her that she was going to quit her job. When asked why, she said that her company changed management and the new boss was unfriendly towards her and very critical of her work. Rather than try and figure out the profile of her new boss and how she might modify her behavior, it was easier for Jackie to leave. Jackie does not like conflict. Not many people do.
Genesis 26:21,22—Then they dug another well and quarreled over that one also, so he named it Hostility. He moved from there and dug another, and they did not quarrel over it. He named it Open Spaces and said, “For now the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”
The Philistines inhabited the land of Canaan and because water was precious in that arid region there was competition over who controlled it. In the passage above, Isaac, the son of Abraham could not escape quarreling with Philistine herdsmen who, envious of his wealth, claimed any wells Isaac’s servants dug up as their own. They should have been thankful for more sources of water. Instead, by their hostile actions, they were sending a message to Isaac—“Get out of our land.”
Allie jogged from her house to school when a neighborhood dog broke loose from his owner and chased her. The mean canine bit her several times before his master was able to regain control. “How unfair and unlucky!” her angry Aunt Zelda said to her mother Susan as they sat in the hospital waiting room while the doctor treated her. “We don’t know that,” Susan responded.
Jeb spread a false rumor about another leader in the church. His pastor after confirming the report was untrue, confronted him about the report and asked him to recant. Jeb refused and shortly thereafter, left the church. Unfortunately, in a bizarre twist of events, Jeb’s departure ended up in the elders expelling their pastor and church founder. The body of Christ lost a talented leader and in hearing this true story I was reminded of Jesus’ warning to his disciples.
Loquacy ran up the red winding trail as fast as his four little legs would take him. He did not stop until he reached the wide brown mound where Sage lived. The old wolf sat above the entrance and looked curiously as Loquacy panted, trying to catch his breath.
“Help me Sage,” the young Chihuahua gasped. “I seem to have made a mistake and I don’t know what to do.”
Kinshasha is a city of 9.5 million (the third largest city in Africa) situated on the banks of the mighty Congo River. As our plane flew down to land at the airport, this city of 3,848 square miles seemed endless. Les and I deplaned and processed through customs but as we headed to pick up our luggage we were stopped and asked to produce shot records. Les had his and was waved forward. I did not bring my record and was therefore motioned to go sit in line with others of the same plight. When it came my turn the medical official asked me why I did not bring my card. I explained my reason and he said I would have to pay a fine of $60. This seemed not only excessive but ridiculous since I had already mailed it in to the Democratic Republic of Congo Consulate as part of the process for getting my visa.
Dr. Jerry White shares an insightful story in his book Rules To Live By. A young lieutenant forgot to wear his tie with his dress uniform on the day he had to brief a general. Not having enough time to return home, he buttoned up his raincoat and wore it into the meeting. When the general asked him why he was wearing his raincoat, the young man admitted he’d forgotten to wear his tie. So, the general told him to take off his raincoat and then he asked everyone present for the meeting to remove their neckties.
Jerry White, Rules to Live By, Colorado Springs: NavPress, ©2010, ps 112,113
George really loves his three sons and he also really loves scouting. As a teenager he significantly grew through his scouting experience and remembers the pride on his father’s face when he made Eagle Scout. If circumstances were different he would still be a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. When his oldest son, Hal, was in the scouts, George invested time in him so he was able to compete and do well against older boys. But Hal got to a place where he didn’t enjoy scouting and wanted out. He shared with his mom Shannon his desire to quit and she felt the stress of wanting to help him while knowing how passionate George was about his sons becoming Eagle Scouts.
Grok is a little used verb that means: “to understand thoroughly and intuitively”; or “to communicate sympathetically.” The word was invented by Robert A. Heinlein in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land written in 1961.
The author of Psalm 91 groked God’s protective nature towards His children.
Joshua 8:10—Joshua started early the next morning and mobilized them. Then he and the elders of Israel led the troops up to Ai.
In the Philippines it is culturally considered embarrassing to be asked a question and to not know the answer. So, if I am out driving and I ask a bystander for directions, I may get directions even if the person has no clue what the correct way is. Therefore, one must always beware of heeding advice and acting on it without getting a second or third opinion. Filipinos do not like to say “I don’t know.”
1 Chronicles 11:6—David said, “Whoever is the first to kill a Jebusite will become chief commander.” Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became the chief.
Words definitely matter. So do our actions. On the surface, it appears that King David made a pretty smart decision. He needed to defeat the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem who had a successful history of repelling would-be conquerors. In fact, they told David, “You will never get in here” (vs. 5). David needed a general to lead Israel’s army so he issued the challenge in our verse for meditation. The king got what he wanted. Zeruiah’s three sons, Joab, Abishai and Asahel were all warriors and Joab seized the opportunity afforded by David’s challenge, and killed the first Jebusite.