Devotions

If you want to be happy for a lifetime...

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I love this remixed Chinese Proverb I heard at a Conference.

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a week, go on a vacation.
If you want happiness for a month, get married.
If you want happiness for a year, win the lottery.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, [love God and] help others.

When it is all said and done.  There are only three things that really matter and most likely people will be contemplating one (or all) of these three things about you …when your funeral rolls around.

1. Did you have a growing relationship with Jesus?
2.  Did you live out your life with love, integrity, and character?
3.  Did you help the lives that were around you?

It’s amazing how those three things are not only what people talk about at funerals, but they are also what brings a person to the truest sense of happiness.
Your fortune won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your knowledge won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your fame won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your position won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.
Your achievements won’t matter, but the lives you helped with it will.

May we endeavour to bring people to the truest sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Three Ducks

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Question: Three ducks were sitting on the edge of a fast flowing river.  One of the ducks decides to swim to the other side. How many ducks are left?

Hmm, the quick answer is two, but it sounds like a trick question doesn’t it.

Answer: Three. Just because you (or a duck) decide to do something doesn’t mean that you will actually do it.

But what if one of those ducks actually goes for it. What if one of them dares to take on a fast flowing river to get to the other side…then how many do you have left?

Okay, now the answer must be two, but realistically I still think that is the wrong answer.

Answer: Zero.  When you (or a duck) courageously decide to take a risk for a worthy cause it will often embolden those around you to do the same.

Billy Graham said it this way, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”

One of the biggest regrets a person of faith has on their death bed is that they didn’t take more risks.  This is a  reminder that the greatest moments in your life will not take place when you make a decision, but when you act on one.  And you never know who might be inspired to follow you.  Courage inspires courage.

Leaning on a Shovel

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I live in farm culture.  A place where there is a strong ‘gitter done’ mentality.  If you’re not sweating then your not working.  Infact, the idea of taking a rest, a hiatus, or especially a sabbatical is a foreign concept. Nobody wants to be that guy that was caught leaning on his shovel.  There is some truth in that mentality. It is healthy to steer clear from laziness and to have a strong work ethic, but if a person never takes a break then eventually they themselves will be the one who breaks.

In college a couple of my roommates called me “Busy Biz” because I was always on the go, hoping to accomplish something for Jesus.   Ministry became my obsession.  I was always dreaming and even daring to push the boundaries, but after 14 years ministry began to lose it’s joy.  I had a resume full of places I had gone and people I had ministered to, but it started to feel like a duty rather than a joy.  The thrill of following Christ had faded.   My emotions had gone raw.  My wife took notice of my ministry fatigue and she began to encourage me to take a short break from ministry (a sabbatical).  I initially laughed at the thought of taking an extended break, but she was persistent, and she won the tug-a-war match.

I spent 40 days disengaged from ministry.  I still came up with a plan of things to do like: study my Bible, get healthy, cherish my family, house work, etc. But anything ministry related was out.  No sermons.  No planning.  No dreaming.  It was super hard at first because I felt like I was leaning on my shovel.  But looking back it was one of the best things I have ever done.  It gave me a fresh perspective and rekindled my heart for God an ministry.  Its not the easiest thing for us driven types to do, but now something I plan to do every 7 years (Deuteronomy 31:10).

Why? Because in the long run it makes me stronger and my ministry healthier.

Are you one of those types who keeps pushing hard?  Has it brought you to a place where you are starting to feel your passion fizzle?  If that’s you then maybe its time to take a break and lean into God.