Points to Ponder: Are You Cheating Your Season?

Points to Ponder
Are You Cheating Your Season?
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore

Every now and then a preacher will sum up in one line a very important spiritual truth. Pastor Paul Shepherd in a sermon series on the Book of James said, "You can not put a hundred dollar hat on a nickel head."
It is a sad fact of life that in our twenties and thirties we have all kinds of visions and ideas about how things could be or ought to be. But, because we have not had the experience, training, and the maturity of testing both together, we are not capable of flying those lofty dreams. In fact our experience and maturity is so lacking that we do not even realize how unqualified we really are. Sometimes, we find (much later on) that we are not even called to the thing we have been pouring our hearts and energies into; we have climbed the ladder and found out it was leaning against the wrong wall.
I recall my days as a health club trainer and manager. When I achieved my career high and became a director of marketing, I had all kinds of ideas on how I could use my position to advance the company.
Unlike some of my colleagues on the management level, I had experience and training in the business. I began achieving results, which they said could not be done. But, at the same time, I was blind and deaf to my own immaturity. Even with my experience and skills, I believed (and acted like) I knew more than my superiors. Even if that was the case, being insubordinate in attitude is just as bad as being insubordinate in action. Eventually, I was fired. It took me ten years before I realized why.
Today that company has expanded and modernized in all the ways I had dreamed and in other ways I had not. It is been almost 20 years since my time there, and just now I'm seeing the lesson I could not see then. The vision was eventually achieved, but not on my timetable or by my plan. In fact, the job I held with the company was eliminated a couple of years after I left. They achieved it without me. How much better it would have been for me, and for them, if I had been part of making it happen according to the pace of that time. But in my zeal, coupled with my immaturity, I tried to cast vision for a company that had not hired me for that purpose. Like it or not, I was hired to do what the leaders wanted done; to make their vision reality. Then, in doing that, I could accumulate experience and training together and thus be qualified to participate in vision casting. After all, it is hard for a blind and deaf man to cast vision. He has got to learn the feel of what he knows and what he is learning. Then with some seasoning over time, he can figure out what his place looks like; and he can help envision the next steps.
In every place where God puts you, there is a season. As Ecclesiastes says: "... there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." (Eccl. 3:1)
You may not like what you are doing. You may have plans which you feel have been thwarted because of current obstacles. You may be exceedingly impatient with either yourself and your circumstances - or both. But today is a training day. You may not remember this particular day after you have accumulated a long line of them, but one day you will see and stand upon the foundation, which the support beams of their tedium now, hold firm. Sometimes wisdom comes in retrospect.
Scripture gives at least three (and certainly more) guidelines for how to train well during this season of your life.
1. "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might..." (Ecclesiastes 9:10a) Every day has its opportunities. You cheat your season by not making the most of the day's journey. You may not be able to see its true importance right now. That is okay.
2. The little things mean a lot. To paraphrase Jesus, he who is faithful in a few things is faithful in much (therefore he who isn't, isn't). "And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own?" (Luke 16:12) You must be trustworthy in the minds of those who entrust you with anything, no matter how small it seems to you.
3. Remember who you serve "And what ever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men." (Colossians 3:23) Again, whatever you do. Why? "..for you serve the Lord Christ." (V24b)
You do not earn the right to wear the hundred-dollar hat by having a big head. Paul warns, "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit..." (Phil 2:3a)
"Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion."(Romans 12:16b, c)
"For anyone who thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)
We are always learning, always in training. No matter how old or "experienced" you will lack some measure of maturity in some things. You may be called to wear many hats in this life. Make sure that first the hat fits; then, wear it. A big hat on the wrong head looks pretty silly.
Do not cheat your season. Bowing in humility today is much more dignifying than falling on your face tomorrow because your hat blocks your eyes. Growth is necessary and it takes time. Sometimes, a nickel at a time...

This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.