I woke up this past Sunday morning and didn’t want to go to church. Instead of the typical three services we were just having one because of the holidays so I thought it would be a good day to stay home and watch Joel Osteen on TV.
But my wife said: “No….. We are not going to start out the New Year the wrong way”.
“Yes Ma’am” and off I went.
When I got to church I was even more convinced I should have stayed home because it turned out the Preacher was on vacation and the sermon was being delivered by one of the Lay Speakers, a member of the church trained to do such things.
His sermon was called “It Is about You” and immediately I was put on the defense… as a Christian I am taught that it is God you put first, family second, and I am somewhere beyond that. But the lay speaker’s point was that nothing happens without me… first. The process has to start with me, it has to start with what is in my heart…… it is in fact about me, it has to be about me!
Of course you may not be a Christian and you may not even believe in God …but I was reminded again very nicely this Sunday how important I am and you are. Everything you do successfully starts with you!
The Bible teaches us that we all have different gifts. If a man’s gift is prophesying let him use it; if it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
We all have our different specialties, our different talents, different jobs, different contributions to give; and individually it is up to us to be successful at what it is we do best; how we use those gifts given to us. And your desire to do the best and to be your best comes from within.
It’s got to be in your heart.
The Lay Speaker went on to make other points that are important to living well and just as important to a successful organization:
Remaining positive even when you don’t want to;
Not judging one another (let he who has not sinned cast the first stone);
Not criticizing one another (Don’t pick a speck out my eye when you have a board in your own).
We aren’t perfect people, we make mistakes. The important part of this however is that you are striving to be perfect, you want not to make mistakes if you can help it; and you want to be successful at whatever it is you are doing. You are doing it for you because you want to, and in doing the right thing for you, you will be doing the right thing for me and the rest of us.
Can you imagine what 50 or so independently motivated, independently successful, independently entrepreneurial people can do collectively?
It would be awesome.
So as this year ends and we reflect on what we accomplished this past year collectively and in some cases individually, think about where you are. Remember it is all about you and it is all up to you.
I wrote that in early January 2009 as part of an end of month/end of year email for the company I worked for at the time, reporting results and sending some message as I had done at the end of every month.
I am surprised I got away with this one.
I was reminded of this writing recently by a conversation I had with a friend at the memorial service for my friend Forrest who I have also written about recently.
The person who delivered the sermon I had referred to nine or so years ago was named Steve. Steve passed away in 2014. Like Forrest, Steve was a pillar of our church, a writer, a historian, a great speaker, and just a real interesting guy. The friend I was speaking to was Steve’s wife Beth. I told her it was one of the best sermons I had ever heard and at the time I had even written about it.
These pillars of my church like Steve and Forrest were examples for so many of us for so many years and so much more to family members like Beth.
We can all relate to someone in this way I am sure.
Maybe it was a pillar of your family; your father, your mother, grandfather or grandmother, brother or sister; son or daughter.
Or maybe it was someone in your church, workplace, or other situation.
How do we replace them? How do we fill that void?
We don’t replace them and those voids don’t go away.
But like Steve’s sermon taught me, it is about me.
It’s about what is in my heart and what I can do that might impact the lives of others positively.
It’s about all of us.
We can step up. We can live as examples too.
What’s my legacy going to be?
Can you just imagine hundreds of millions of independently motivated, independently successful individuals; using their different talents, their different specialties; using the gifts given to them; using what is in their hearts; to help one another?
It would be awesome.
It would be super.