Points to Ponder: Are You Letting Today's Pointlessness Blur Your Vision?
Points to Ponder
Are You Letting Today's Pointlessness Blur Your Vision?
Someone has defined vision as a picture of the future that inspires passion in the present. If you can see where you're heading, you can rev up excitement for whatever you have to do today. I considered this one morning while sitting in a restaurant with my cup of coffee and my study notes. After focusing about an hour on the small print before me, I looked up and all around the room everything was a bit blurry. It took a moment or so to be able to see what was out in the distance.
I suppose this is what differentiates management from leadership. Managers deal with the immediate situation, tasks, and objectives that are in front of them presently. Leaders takes all of that into account while at the same time keeping in focus what's up ahead, where the organization is going, and what they are striving to become. A leader envisions the future, the possibilities and the potential. When the team grasps that picture, the passion for today's agenda fires up.
You can take the leadership of your life the same way. You are both the manager and the leader. You manage the day-to-day functions of keeping yourself alive, employed, fed and housed. But where's your vision? There is such a lack of passion in people's lives today because they haven't looked up and beyond the immediate to see what could be up ahead.
Don't you get fed up with the surly clerks at the retail stores, the restaurants, and the gas stations? They either hate their jobs and are all too happy to share their pain with you; or they simply don't love what they do and can't see it as anything more than the necessary burden that puts a paycheck in their pocket.
For about 15 or more years, through college and young adult life, I worked jobs I neither wanted nor liked. But it was all an inexperienced kid like me could get. I got through the drudgery by adopting this vision: I will be the most valuable, dependable employee this company has. I didn't like the job, but I mastered it. And that led to better jobs.
I wish the youth of today would grasp this lesson. Some adults too! I hated selling, but sales jobs were all I could get. During college, I did not want to work food service, but restaurant jobs were all I could get. And when I see younger folks doing the jobs I used to do, I actually reflect back with a touch of nostalgia. Truth be told, I had a pretty good time in these jobs (they've given me some good sermon illustrations nowadays, too.)
I remember being part of a team in a Glen Burnie restaurant - and we were good. It was fun to do a good job during those chaotic summer nights. We'd gather to tell stories over pizza after closing, talking about an embarrassing flub, or those nasty folks who complain every week (and come back every week), and of course the bureaucracy of management. When you're 18 years old, full of wisdom and a freshly printed high school degree, you know how the place ought to be run. And we could tell them, too.
What made the various jobs I held the valuable experiences they were was basically a two-fold truth.
1. Today is the foundation to the second floor of tomorrow. You know you didn't get good at what you're now an expert at without countless hours of practice, the performance of tedious tasks, and numerous mistakes. You can't build the second floor until you've completed the first; and you can't even start on the first floor until you've laid the foundation. Look at the buildings around you. The part you can't see is the foundation. Yet without that, the building could not stand.
2. Character is the brick and mortar of the foundation of your life. Have you noticed the increasing number of great stars of politics, business, and sports who rose high and then fell hard? Some are in prison, some exiled from their field in disgrace, and others are on their way out. Take it from one who knows:
"Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character." (attributed to former football great, O. J. Simpson.)
Those who have fallen didn't plan it that way. But those who don't do the sacrificial and often tedious work of becoming a person of character won't know how to use setbacks as steps up; and if they achieve success, the probability of being crushed by the weight of it is very high.
So don't let the tedious and apparent pointlessness of today blur your vision of God's picture of your tomorrow. Whatever it is you've got to do, it is heading somewhere. Today may be just a lot of foundation work. But if you can get a passion for a good foundation, then you'll get a clearer picture of what God is doing with your life; to build something which you just can't see - yet. Allow God's word to guide you through what's got to be done:
"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." (Proverbs 22:1)
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24)
Is there any better reason to do anything? If these principles are your guide, you can do just about anything extremely well. And in so doing, you glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com