Today let’s continue on our trail and search for some more nuggets of wisdom. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything, there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
The rally cry for this week is…
A Time to Take Action
Engaging in genuine discipline requires that you develop the ability to take action. You don’t need to be hasty if it isn’t required, but you don’t want to lose much time either. The time to act is when the idea is hot and the emotion is strong.
Let’s say you would like to build your personal library of books, either physically or electronically. If that is a strong desire for you, what you’ve got to do is get the first book. Then get the second book. Take action as soon as possible before the feeling passes and the idea dies. If you don’t, you fall prey to the Law of Diminishing Intent.
We intend to take action when the idea strikes us. We intend to do something when the emotion is high. But, if we don’t translate that intention into action fairly soon, the urgency starts to diminish. A month from now the passion is cold. A year from now it can’t be found. If nothing changes in your life, then your life will not change.
So take action. Set up a discipline or habit when the emotions are high and the idea is strong, clear, and powerful. If somebody talks about good health and you’re motivated by it, you need to get a book on nutrition. Get the book before the idea passes and the emotion gets cold. Begin the process. Fall on the floor and do some push-ups.
You’ve got to take action; otherwise, the wisdom is wasted. The emotion soon passes unless you apply it to a disciplined activity. Discipline enables you to capture the emotion and the wisdom and translate them into action. The key is to increase your motivation by quickly setting up the disciplines. By doing so, you’ve started a whole new life process.
The greatest value of discipline is self-worth, also known as self-esteem. Many people who are teaching self-esteem these days don’t connect it to discipline. But, once we sense the least lack of discipline within ourselves, it starts to erode our psyche. One of the greatest temptations is to just ease up a little bit. Instead of doing your best, you allow yourself to do just a little less than your best. Sure enough, you’ve started in the slightest way to decrease your sense of self-worth.
There is a problem with even a little bit of neglect. Neglect starts as an infection. If you don’t take care of it, it becomes a disease. And one neglect leads to another. Worst of all, when neglect starts, it diminishes our self-worth.
Once this has happened, how can you regain your self-respect? All you have to do is act now! Start with the smallest discipline that corresponds to your own philosophy. Make this commitment, “I will discipline myself to set and then achieve my goals today so that in the years ahead I can celebrate my successes.”
A Time to Be Fruitful
Over the years I’ve learned to challenge myself and those that I impact to turn their response to the ideas and information they receive into results. According to the Biblical story in Genesis 1:28, the first couple, Adam and Eve, were instructed to be fruitful or produce some results. “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.’”
If you study Chapter 1 closely, you’ll see that God instructed all His creation to be fruitful. He repeated these commands after the flood to Noah, his family, and all creation also.
Fruitful is kind of an interesting word. It denotes abundance to fill the earth. In our daily lives today, I think fruitful, abundance, and productivity mean to go to work on producing more than you need for yourself. I think we fulfill that command given to us so long ago to be productive and to produce far more than we need for ourselves by blessing our family and others, blessing our workplace, and blessing our nation regardless of where we live or what conditions we are living in.
Challenge yourself to produce more ideas than you need for yourself so you can share and give your ideas away. Produce more in terms of substance and money and treasure and all things valuable to human beings, far more than you need for yourself.
I am reminded of R.G. LeTourneau’s story, the man who built the big earth moving machines. It was his goal to someday give away 90% of his income. Giving away far more than anyone could possibly imagine. 90% is an awful lot to give away, but you should have seen the 10% that was left. Once abundance starts to come and once someone becomes incredibly productive, it’s amazing what the numbers turn out to be. It’s amazing what it finally totals. So make sure when you are given the opportunity that you turn your response into results and capitalize on the chance to be more fruitful and more giving.
As we gain wisdom and apply wise principles to our lives, God will multiply our years so that we will have even more opportunities to be fruitful. Proverbs 9:11 puts it this way, “Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life.” We should produce abundant results in all of our endeavors as the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Ephesus put it in Chapter 6 verse 7, “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
On our trek this week, our wisdom nuggets gave us insight that there is a time to take action and a time to be fruitful. Both are related because if we do take action, we will multiply our results and be more fruitful.