10 LESSONS FROM MY 40 YEARS ON PLANET EARTH (PART 3)
- Learning never ceases. This is a literal translation of Shona statement “Kudzidza hakupere.” We should always be open to learning every day, even if you are in your twilight years. We can learn at school, at home, on the streets, from others, even from children. We can learn anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Education is important. If you are in school, stay there. If you are in college, keep at it. If you are in leadership, keep learning. To lead well, read much. What books have you read lately? What books are you reading right now? What has God been teaching you this week?
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. Enjoy life. My wife often reminds me, “Life is too short. Have fun.” Sometimes we spend too much time worrying about things that never happen, or are beyond our control. Go ahead play a sport, go sky diving, bungee jumping, laugh – do something to lighten your life.
- Don’t give up or quit easily. We often face challenges that corner us and leave us, seemingly, with no option but to throw in the towel. The devil often whispers to us to give up. Life is never meant to be a walk in the park. In fact, the challenges we face make us stronger. Quitting robs us of the opportunity to grow. Refuse to quit. Often, we quit right before the moment of victory. We need to ask for God’s grace to handle life’s pressures. We need to be people who take a licking but are able to keep on ticking. The Bible says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
- Give to others. We imitate God the most when we give sacrificially. Giving money, gifts, and treasures is a sign of our love and gratitude. I have learned that I feel great when I give, much better than when I am on the receiving end. There is something divine and godly in the act of giving. In Luke 6:38, we read, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Do you tithe to your church? Do you give to the poor?
- I have learned that life is more meaningful when I serve than when I am served. In this age of movie superheroes, sports, political and church celebrities, we lack great examples of We forget we are at our best when we serve others. This world needs more servants than bosses; more service oriented leaders than dictators. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” In Matthew 20:27-28, we read “And whoever wants to be first must be your servant– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Do you know what your calling is? Are you in God’s will? If not, what is stopping you?
I have learned that you thrive and flourish when you are doing what God called you to do. I like what God says in Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I dare you to discover God’s will for your life. I dare you to live in the midst of God’s will. Buckle up, the ride is going to be full of hard times, and fulfilling times, as well. An adventure with God is worth leaving all our personal plans for. Are you ready?
- I have learned that hard work does not kill. God hates laziness. Laziness does not put food on the table; neither does it sustain a healthy lifestyle. I have seen intelligent, book smart people struggle, while the hard working people succeed in life. I read somewhere this saying, “Those who do their homework rule the world.” There is an element of truth there. The discipline of putting an honest day’s work brings forth wonderful returns. Success in school takes the discipline of good study habits. Spiritual growth partly, is dependent on overcoming the laziness that keeps us in bed instead of prayer. Working hard means getting off the couch, and putting some sweat equity into your life. Your sweat today will make your life sweet tomorrow.
- Face your fears. What is that you fear the most? What are your fears? Most of us have done ourselves a huge disfavor by allowing fear to cripple us. We have stopped living. We have short changed ourselves when we have cowered to a corner rather than sing, speak up, or do anything we know deep inside, we need to do. Fear works against faith. Fear debilitates many good, gifted people. We need to face our fears. We will soon discover God equips and empowers us to handle our fears. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Are you ready to hold the bull by its horns – face your fears, and start living!
- We need each other. We were created for community. I have learned that it is better to be economically poor and be surrounded by loving family and friends, than to be financially wealthy while living a solitary, lonely life. It is imperative that we learn to relate well with all people, especially our family. I know we live in an individualistic, independent society. Let us go counter-culture and learn to live and thrive in community. We have to be comfortable around people; learn to subject our independence to the community. After all, no person is an island. Do you have relationships that need to be rebuilt? Are there family members you need to forgive to restore your strained relationships? Stop being stubborn. Extend grace.
10. Try something new and daring. New foods. New sports. Go back to school and finish that degree. I am amazed how many times my life goes into a rut. Often I get stuck in a routine that sucks life out of everything. I have learned that it is important to keep exploring new worlds. A couple of years ago, I made up my mind that I would try eating sushi. The last time I had tried was 12 years earlier – and I hated it. This time, I enjoyed sushi. Now I call myself a “food fanatic.” I am enjoying trying different foods. This has exposed me to new cultures, new friends, and a sense of adventure. Do you need to try eating something exotic? Have you considered skydiving, or singing a solo, or teaching a Sunday School class? What is it that you can do to inject life into your boring routine?