Goal Setting In Your Life

Paul in 1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27, advises the best way to set goals and reveals the key ingredients needed to successfully achieve the goals you set.

The NIV reads as follows:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

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Taking actions with the result in mind

Paul starts off with the obvious, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run.” When a goal is set, it is important to take the steps needed to reach it. We often opt to delay our actions, stating one reason or the other. “all runners run” means if you choose a goal, you start moving right away.

King Solomon confirms this idea in Ecclesiastes 7:8, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning….”

Many times, starting strong is the easy part, but finishing strong is a different game altogether. Paul recommends to “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” You need to put in every bit of your effort to see the end, giving it your all every step of the way. Think every day about giving your absolute best at every moment from start to finish. Excuses and complaints are not allowed, but only the focus is needed to see the goal to the very end.

Again in Ecclesiastes 9:10, Solomon advises, “Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might.”

Any goal states the expected outcome and when you choose a goal, start working consistently, giving it your all, such as you would when you run to win the race.

Purpose

In verse 26, Paul states, “I do not run aimlessly.” Any goal you set should serve a larger purpose, a vision, or a mission in your life. If not, as Paul says, it is like punching the air. How do you make sure you are not punching the air? Tracking how you spend your time will help you see how you manage your resource and what role it plays in winning the race.

What is your purpose in life?  Take some time to define your purpose if you have not done so already. Your purpose will become your north star and shape your actions like an arrow directed to hit the target. My purpose is to walk with you on your journey to become the best version of yourself. Therefore, my goals will be directed towards equipping myself with the skills I will need to coach you on your journey.

Passion

The word passion is often misused and, as a result, misunderstood. It does not represent a superficial feeling neither a compulsive obsession but rather a consistency required to pursue the goal.

Paul uses “exercising self-control” in verse 25 and “I discipline my body” in verse 27 to enforce the idea of consistency. Consistency requires you to follow a specific plan, limiting your choices because of the goal you are trying to reach. For example, if exercising to lose weight is your goal, you need to employ self-discipline when you eat and consistently choose to do the exercise you have committed.

Disciplining the body represents a consistent desire to become the best that you can be. Always seeking to find what God created you to be. Your passion will drive behave in a way that demonstrates that you are here to win the race.

Perseverance

1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “Now every athlete who [goes into training and] competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things.” [AMP] 

The over-arching goal is to finish strong in your race. Physical training represents the daily goals that you will achieve. The training also represents learning, reflecting, and receiving feedback to grow each day. Top athletes learn by watching tapes of their previous performance to identify areas that they can improve. They watch tapes of other top players, their competition to see what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

Top athletes also have coaches to help them identify areas that they need to improve. Together they come up with a plan and are passionate enough to persevere to improve themselves and achieve their purpose.

Swimmers set themselves goals to improve their speed by one-tenth of a second and work up to a month to reach the goal. The amount of time that a swimmer is trying to enhance might seem insignificant, but that is all they may need to beat their competition or set a world record.

The verse we saw at the beginning of this sub-topic is translated as “striving for mastery” [BRG] or “goes into strict training” [GW] in those respective versions. These translations add more meaning to the idea of perseverance. Research has shown that about 10000 hours are needed for one to become a master of a skill. When we consider a field of knowledge, it is recommended that a person spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 5 years, to gain mastery. When you are in pursuit of mastery, you must undergo regular training to develop the skill.

I will ask again, what is your over-arching goal in life? This is your top goal, and everything you do must take you closer to achieving this goal.

You have different roles to play in life. Son/daughter, father/mother, husband/wife, employee/employer, and any other roles you play in society. You are expected to do your best in each of these roles too. These form the mid-level goals, and doing well in them will move you forward in reaching your overarching goal.

Your lower-level goals represent the actions you take each day to gain mastery in your roles that are your mid-level goals.

Here is Paul advice on setting goals:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27

Goal Setting For Success

In Luke 14:28, Jesus talks about planning and setting goals. He says, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

The goal setting and planning process is very exciting as we imagine how our life would be once we have achieved our goal. The growth we are after and the result of the same creates a sense of excitement in our minds.

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28

The reality of pursuing the goal however is very different as there is real pain involved when you change your old ways and learn something new. The pain is even worse if the goal you are after is way out of your comfort zone.

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When faced with reality, the excitement you felt when setting the goal or the life you imagined once the goal was complete does not motivate you anymore. The result seems so far away so it becomes really easy to make excuses. You may say “today is my cheat day” or try to defend yourself by saying, “I’ve worked hard these few days and I deserve it.” You could come up with some other reason that is valid in that moment.

As humans we all have the same issue. We all struggle with the pain that exists once we start taking actions on our goals. How do some among us fare better than the most of us? Do they do something different from the majority?

King David gives us a solution in Psalm 34:12. He asks a question, “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days?” I am certain your answer is yes. In verse 14, he has the answer, “Turn from evil and do good.” Doing “good” is the goal you are after. We all set goals and move forward and then when we face the reality of pain many of us back off or let go of our goals and find reasons to justify our decision.

“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days?… “Turn from evil and do good.” Psalm 34:12, 14

King David offers a two-step solution. “turn from evil” and then “do good”. What David is saying is while you plan what it is that you will go after, you also need to recognize what current habit will you leave behind. If you decide to eat healthy then you need to also consider the unhealthy items that you will not eat. If you decide to add a new habit say exercising, then you need to also think about where will the time for exercising come from: your tv time? Your social media time? You must realize everything is an exchange. You are giving up something to go after something else.

In most of the cases, the goal you are after is the change you seek. Realizing that change is not filling a void but rather replacing some habit that already exists will help you make better decisions in the moment where you are tempted to quit.

While pursuing a new goal, you are making a change in your routine. You are planning to replace something that you normally do with something that you have now planned to do. For example, if you decide to exercise instead of watching the television then you are deciding to move away from the routine i.e., watching tv to your new goal exercising.

When you quantify both the “evil” and the “good” in your goal you know what it is that you will give up in order to gain the result you are after with your new goal. When you face pain, as in our example earlier you are thinking about watching tv today instead of exercising, you can then realize that you are turning to “evil” instead of the “good.”

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus talks about this idea of exchange. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” In order to possess the treasure that is hidden in the field (“good”) the man went and sold(“evil”) all that he had.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44

In the earlier example, you can also see how you brain works. Your brain loves routine and therefore will come up with reasons and excuses to return to the routine. The pain of change is real, there is no escaping it. Recognizing what you will leave and what you will gain in its stead will help you stick to the goal and repeat the decision each time you are tempted to abandon the “good” you are after.

The Growth Mindset of a Successful Christian

From the time we are conceived, we grow. Physical growth is automatic. You eat, and your stomach breaks the food down into nutrients that the body can use to build cells. If you are not starving, you are growing. The same cannot be said for the brain. The intellectual development of the brain does not happen automatically. The phrase “you are what you eat” can be taken for the brain as well. What do you consume for your brain? What type of information do you prefer?

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In Romans 12:2, Paul teaches, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” You grow by transforming your mind, and the change takes place by testing what is good and acceptable and perfect.

John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” Jesus has chosen you to go and bear fruit. The fruit mentioned here represents your actions. Your actions are a result of what is present in your mind. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says, “… how can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What thoughts are abundant in your heart?

One more verse, Matthew 7:16 – 18, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” You will know if your mind has grown by your actions. If you are doing the same things you did last year or the year before, you bear the same fruit. How would you judge the quality of your fruit?

Are there any areas in your life where you are yet to plant the seeds? How do you plan to take care of the seedlings that grow? If you have depended on automatic growth, how has that approach gone for you? Did you know that only weeds and tares grow on their own more often than fruit trees?

Let’s look at 3 things that are stunted in one’s life when a growth mindset is not adopted.

Stunted Growth

For a plant to grow, it needs water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil. If it lacks any one of these, your plant has not reached its full potential. The same applies to your life as well. If you are not finding high-quality information to feed your mind, then you are restricting your growth.

Matthew 6:22 says, Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.” Eyes are vital to allow information into our minds, mainly because our minds see things like pictures. It visualizes a description and creates an image in your mind and what you see you become.

And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever-increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 [AMPC].  By beholding the word of God, we become more in the image of God.

Matthew 11:15, Jesus speaking, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” We use our ears to hear and process information. Jesus repeatedly used this phrase to remind us to pay attention to what we listen to and use our ears to grow.

A goldfish can grow up to 30 cm, but its growth is stunted, limited to the size of the tank. The smaller the tank, the greater the fish’s stress, which then determines its size. You change the fish to a bigger tank, and the fish grows. You are limiting your growth with the information you are providing your brain. How can you ensure the growth of your brain? What daily habits can you develop to aid the development of your mind?

Stunted Influence

A large tree with plenty of leaves and branches attracts other living organisms to come and be a part of its environment, whereas a tree with no leaves or fruits will stand alone. If you wonder how your influence should be, I want to draw your attention to the spies in Canaan. In Number 13:23, Moses records the fruits the spies brought from Canaan. “… they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them.” One cluster of grapes was carried by 2 grown men.

The grapes represent the fruit you could bear by growing your mind. The significance and the influence you will have with such fruits.

Stunted Response

The coconut tree responds poorly to the seasons. Not all the old leaves fall, and the coconuts that did not develop fully into a fruit remain on the tree. As a result, one needs to climb onto the tree and clean the tree; otherwise, the fruit yield of the tree will decrease. In the same manner, If you have not prepared the soil of your mind, then you will lose out on the harvest. Your harvest will not meet your true potential.

In Jeremiah 17:7-8, we read, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Decide to grow in some ways every day. May your motto be to be better than yesterday. Earl Nightengale said, “If a person spends one hour a day on the same subject for 5 years, that person will be an expert on that subject.” What field interests you? Find podcasts, books, or videos on YouTube to learn from every day. By doing it each day, you prepare your mind and make yourself more valuable to the people you seek to serve.

Teach what you learn to others so that you can cement what you know. More importantly, look for applications that you can implement immediately in your life to be more fruitful. Growing is the only way to reach your true potential. What is holding you back? Let’s go, shall we?

Entrepreneurship lesson from the feeding of the 5000

Entrepreneurship is used to refer to the setting up of a business, but I would like to use the word in the context of Jesus’ ministry and his work ethic.

Let’s set the stage for this blog article. Jesus had sent 70 disciples as missionaries and they have now returned and have shared with Jesus and the disciples about their experience. Luke says many where coming and going so there was no time to eat.

Matthew records the beheading of John the Baptist and in verse 13 says when Jesus heard this He withdrew with his disciples to a private place. It is clear the Jesus was looking for some downtime with his disciples in a quiet place. How many of us can relate to that need?

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3 lessons from Jesus’ actions

Jesus is the ultimate example for us. He said, “Follow me.” While tracking the footsteps of Jesus you can see His work ethic and how he lived his life for the mission and that is what we will focus on here.

Jesus was ready to put in the time when he saw the need.

When you start a business, you will soon realize that the amount of time needed to start and run a business takes a lot of time. You may have also heard how they spend 100-hour weeks working to get their product to the market.

We see Jesus seeking a quiet place with his disciples after a series of taxing events. John the Baptist is beheaded, the disciples have returned with their reports of their ministry. Jesus and the disciples have missed their meal yet again. Now when they reach the destination with rest on their minds, Jesus and the disciples are greeted by a huge crowd.

The reaction of Jesus is important to note here. Matthew says, “He had compassion on them.” The ability to reach out and serve comes only when there is passion for your work even though you are almost running on empty. And Jesus heals the sick among them. There is always a great need for service everywhere around you and therein lies your opportunity.

Mark adds another detail for Jesus’ compassion. He says, they were like sheep without a shepherd. How this statement is true today. How we all are looking to follow people on social media and the likes. How we seek the advice and guidance of other individuals to learn and know about their experiences. The opportunity to serve is on your fingertips today and you can start your service from the comfort of your home.

Jesus demonstrates the passion that he had for his work and how he was willing to set aside physical needs and postpone emotional needs so that he can be engaged in his work. It is that example that we need to employ in our jobs today. In service of others for HIS glory.

Jesus was focused

Focus is a key ingredient in success. It is easy to be distracted as there are many things today that need your attention and there are those things that are competing to get your attention. In the attention economy, people with focus are the ones with the superpower. Being focused helps you to prioritize the tasks that you do in a day and spend your time only on the things that will help you to move forward.

Jesus is the prime example of focus. He was here to seek and save the lost, to reveal God on earth. Jesus spent most of his time teaching and that is what he started to do in this instance as well. Jesus started teaching the crowds that were present there. He provided them physical relief by healing the sick but also spiritual relief by making the truth plain.

Jesus never missed an opportunity to setup a situation for someone to learn. John records this mini incident within the larger miracle. Jesus asks Philip a question. “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Jesus is using the word “we” here because he is not looking to treat his disciples as servants but as friends. Jesus shares equal responsibility in the task that he is working to achieve.

John says, Jesus asked Philip the question to test him. It was a teaching moment for Philip. For Philip to learn about faith in God. It becomes evident from Philip’s answer that Philip needed that lesson that day. Philip was looking unto himself for an answer to the problem, but he needed to look to Jesus. John also says, “Jesus already knew what he was going to do.”

Jesus also taught the disciples a lesson that day on problem solving. The disciples where keen to not be faced with the trouble of feeding all those who had gathered there so they even suggested a practical solution. The lesson for the disciples was God can do anything and when He is with you there are NO big problems.

Jesus did not lose sight of his Purpose

After Jesus had fed the 5000, the men tried to crown Him the “King of Jews”. They thought that the solution to the people of Israel’s problem of being slaves to Rome will soon be over if Jesus became their king. Why wouldn’t they think that way? Jesus had just fed all of them with 5 loaves and 2 fish. Imagine what else Jesus could do they must have thought.

Jesus purpose on earth was to reestablish the connection between Heaven and Earth that severed because of sin. Every act of Jesus was done with that purpose in mind. What is your purpose? What is your mission? Are you focused on that mission and purpose?

Jesus with withdrew from the crowd to connect with the Father. Jesus was finally able to get the alone time that he wanted before the miracle. Jesus was not interested in a short-term win and demonstrated laser sharp focus on His purpose. A short term with that distracts you from the path you are on is a distraction. Every moment spent achieving that takes you away from achieving your purpose.

The short-term win for Jesus that was in line with His overall purpose was to reveal that God cares about our physical needs and nothing is too small to matter to God. Your smallest of needs matter to Him. Jesus’ long term purpose was to be the Savior of mankind and that did not align with being the King of the Jews so Jesus walked away from that offer. How was he able to do it? Jesus was focused.

Jesus lived the life of an entrepreneur. He worked long hours, was focused and never lost sight of His purpose. How about you?

Generosity and Success

The two words in the title, when considered together, usually go against logic and reason. How could they work together? Regular Math says when you give, you have less, and logic comes along and says how could one be more successful if they give away what is theirs. Why should you share, and why would that make you successful? 2 Corinthians 9: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. You reap what you sow.

Let’s look at how sowing generously will help you lead a successful life.

First, let’s address the question, why give?

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Giving turns your focus outward

The author Jacques-Yves Cousteau says, “It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” Melodious music comes when people playing different parts come together to perform in unison. A solo performance becomes dull after a while.

The gift you have becomes more meaningful when it is shared with others. Insulin was discovered by Sir Frederick G Banting, Charles H Best, and JJR Macleod and subsequently purified by James B Collip. These men decided to make their invention available to the public free of charge. Before this invention, a person with type 1 diabetes had a life expectancy of 1 to 2 years, but now with insulin, their life expectancy is drastically improved.

Generosity helps you overcome selfishness by turning your attention to others.

Generosity adds value to others

In the previous example, we saw the invention has helped millions of people live long, meaningful lives. When you use the skills you have developed to help others, you are helping others reach their potential. With generosity, you could end up with a forest. You are then preparing a fertile land around you where the tree around you grows and yields more fruit.

US President Woodrow Wilson said it this way: “You are not here merely to make a living. …you are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand. Think for a moment about the people in your life.  Do they grow as a result of your acquaintance? or do they grow despite your acquaintance?

Generosity helps you

Bible is filled with verses talking about the benefits you have when you are generous.

Luke 6:38 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.

Psalm 112:5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Proverbs 11:25 The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.

How big is your world?

When one brings up the topic of generosity, the standard objections are as follows:

I don’t have enough – I barely meet my needs myself; how can I give to others? The promise you need to hold onto is found in Philippians 4:19, And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Why can’t others who have enough do more? – this argument is commonly used to direct the conversation from self to others. Trying to answer others who are not present in the conversation will only lead to meaningless words spoken between two people who could do something of worth in that time.

The Bible is plain; your actions affect your quality of life. 2 Corinthians 9: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Mother Theresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” What can you do is the question? It is not about others; it is about you.

The reason we fall back on these two reasons is that money is almost always associated with generosity. Yes, money usually is given when there is a need. Author Bruce Larson says, “Money is another pair of hands to heal and feed and bless the desperate families on earth” also that “a man’s money is an extension of himself.” He explains that money is his other self, and money can go where he does not have time to go or have a passport to go to another country.

There is yet another critical thing that you can give, i.e.,  your time and attention. Either you could volunteer your time to be of service, or you can develop new skills to share more of your knowledge and experience and add value to the lives of others. You can do this even if you don’t have the money.

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” —Simone Weil

Adding value to other’s lives is a conscious effort. John Maxwell shares 4 things one needs to do to add value in other’s lives.

  1. Value people – if you don’t value others, you will not add value to them. You need to remember that all are children of God. They are in this world for a reason, and you can help them find theirs.
  2. Know what they value – People will be willing to receive what they think they want and need, not anything you have prepared to give them. Taking the time to understand what is significant for the person you are looking to add value will yield the best results.
  3. Make yourself more valuable – when you add more skills to your portfolio, you can be of service to more individuals in varied circumstances.
  4. Do things that God values – God loves you unconditionally and gives you all your needs, so you must return the favor by serving others.

Reflection: What is your reason to give?

Think of yourself as a tree. In Genesis, we read God’s command to us, “Be fruitful” A tree bears fruit for others. Your fruits are for others. When others have consumed your fruits, your seeds get planted in others’ lives, and they grow into more trees and yields fruits. Pretty soon, you will be able to see the fruits in the lives of others because of your labor. The result is a forest filled with trees bearing your fruits.

The purpose of generosity is summarized perfectly by Rabbi Harold Kushner. He says, “The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you brought to other people’s lives than you will from the times you outdid and defeated them.”

Jesus was a Businessman

For a moment, I want to consider Jesus as an entrepreneur starting a business. Yes, I know he did not run a business, but he was here on a mission. A mission to save you and me from the clutches of sin. His firm has been around for a record-breaking 2000 plus years. Japan proudly hosts 3146 companies that have been around for more than 200 years, according to the website worldatlas.com.

The oldest company in the world is a construction company that started in AD 578 and has been around for more than 1400 years. If we looked at Christianity as a business, it has survived for more than two millennia. We have one founder and CEO, Jesus Christ. There are many managers in this business all around the world. From a business perspective, what makes Christianity survive for ages? If you are looking to follow Jesus’ example in your business, what is the secret recipe you could use today to set you up to run a company that will stay on for a long time?

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We know Jesus introduced the upside-down kingdom. Things that He required of us go contrary to how the world functions. “Bless those who curse you,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” are all principles that go contrary to how the world functions. So, it will not be surprising that the identical value is applied here as well.

If you look at Christianity as a business, Jesus focused on the people first, the service that He provides as the second, and the results.

Jesus Focused on the People

Jesus, when he was in this world, he chose 12 disciples. If you want to make a significant difference, then you need more people on your mission. The more people you have around you, the more noteworthy things that you can achieve. In Ecclesiastes 4:12, we read, “An enemy might be able to defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together—it is very hard to break.”

When you are working with others, they the ones who are with you on your mission. These are the first group of people. Jesus has his disciples; he chose 12, then he selected another 70. The disciples would then be the employees of the company. Jesus also taught anyone who came to listen. Mark 3:9 reads, “Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.”

Jesus placed both his disciples and the people who came to listen to his words ahead of himself. He cared for them even though he was tired and hungry. Jesus set aside time to teach only the disciples. Matthew 13:10, 11 reads, “The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”

Jesus gave his disciples an in-depth explanation of the principles that he was teaching. Jesus always places the people first in his business. Their needs before his needs. Their wants before his. He cared for each one of us; we know that because he laid down his life for all of us. John 15:13 sums up how Jesus prioritized people. Jesus is speaking, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

How can you care about your employees? How do you show you care to your customers/clients?

Show your employees a vision that is bigger than themselves. It gives a common purpose for the people who work for you and show them how their work affects the lives of the people they serve. Showing respect and understanding for the employees who work with you will help you further your vision. Remembering that the employees are following you to see your vision become a reality. They are not working for you but with serving a group of people and making their lives better.

Create an environment where your employees are allowed to fail but are held accountable. Jesus did that with his disciples even though they abandoned him during his crucifixion. Peter betrayed him, but Jesus provided guidance and demonstrated patience. Guide your team to better performance.

The customers themselves are another group of people whose needs you care about. What is the value that you are seeking to add to their lives? Applying the golden rule in your business will put them ahead of yourself and be just like Jesus.

Jesus Focused on the Service

In Mark 2:17, we read, “When Jesus heard it, he said to them, Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call righteous people but sinners.” Luke 19: 10 reads, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” John 10:10 reads, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

In these verses, we see the purpose that Jesus was here to fulfill – to seek and save. Jesus was clear about the service that he was providing. Jesus was not trying to please everyone and do everything. He said, “the healthy don’t need a doctor” some people will reject the service you provide. Even Jesus’ disciples(employees) walked away. He did not change the service that he was providing. Jesus was clear and unapologetic for his service. You can attest to the fact that you who have received His service have received its full benefits.

Focus on providing the best service you can. Work towards the long-term benefits for the people whom you seek to serve.

Jesus Focused on the Results

Results were the last on the list of his priorities. Yes, his service was to save mankind, but Jesus did not come with a figure of people to redeem in mind. He celebrated each success. Luke 15:7 says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who turns to God.”

Jesus did not have quarterly targets though he had a market expansion plan. In Matthew 24:14, Jesus invites us,  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.”

In the world, we have gotten this principle upside down. First, we are after quarterly results, profit margins, and dividends and bonuses, then followed by the service and finally the people. I am confident if you get the first two right then results will automatically follow. How would your business change if you followed God’s recipe for running a successful business?

What is the Biblical Way to Make More Money?

People usually have a love-hate relationship with money. On the one hand, we want more of it, and on the other, we think it is unrighteous to have more money. This dilemma can be sorted out by the way we define money.

Investopedia defines money as the medium of exchange for transactional purposes in an economy.  The word transaction relates to the idea of giving and take. But how does Bible define money? Understanding the biblical definition of money will help one know the meaning of money and answer the question asked in the title of this article.

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I learned the best definition of money while listening to Rabbi Daniel Lepin, who defined money as follows: According to the Bible, Money is defined as a certificate of performance. It is proof that you have served another person.

When we look at the definition, we see two critical ideas covered in this definition, 1. Money is earned by serving others, and 2. Your performance determines the amount of money you will make.

Let’s unpack these 2 ideas to understand their whole meaning.

Money is Earned by Serving Others

One needs to provide a service to another person to earn money. So many times, we tend to think that we can make it independently, which is not valid. We need others to increase our income.

Imagine you have decided that you will provide all of your needs. But, unfortunately, making that decision means that you need to grow your own grains, make your own clothes, and if you need to drive your own car, first you need to produce your own, and second, you need to drill for your own oil, make your own roads, and the list just goes on. So you can see that “making it on my own” just does not work out.

In Genesis 2:18, we read, “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” While this verse is taken in the context of marriage and family, we should not forget that the Bible is multilayered. In this case, God is also talking about a fundamental principle: God did not create human beings to be discrete individuals doing their own thing. Instead, God created us to connect with one another.

We need each other to make money; the more people we know and serve, the more money can be made. So, if you have a service that everyone can use, then just by the sheer number of people you aid, you know that you will have proof that you have served so many people.

A telephone company that provides a cellphone network offers a service to millions of people, and therefore as a natural consequence, they will have many certificates of performance.

This leads us to the next idea in the biblical way of making money.

Your Performance Determines the Amount of Money You Will Earn

Two key ideas are covered here. Let’s go over them one by one. Firstly, the concept of performance. The performance talks about the quality of work that one does. Generally, we can divide performance into three categories: novice, intermediate, and expert.

The task that you do falls into one of the three categories mentioned above. When you are starting out, you are learning the skill yourself, so the work you do will evidence that the more time you spend on it, the better you will get at performing the service and then reach the intermediate stage. Now, most people stop growing and have a false notion that they have become experts.

An expert can take all the knowledge required to perform a skill and then infuse their own creativity to the process and take it to the next level. It is then you become one of a kind. You are unique in performing that specific set of skills that sets you apart from the rest of the crowd and creates new demand for your services, and now you have become an expert.

Secondly, the amount of money you earn is dependent on the kind of skill you have developed. If the skill set you have is easy to learn, then the compensation you will receive for performing the skill set will be low. Even if you are an expert at performing the skill set, if the task is easy to perform, you will be disappointed when the number of certificates you receive for your service is negligible.

In the parable of the talents, we see one servant received 5, another 3, and yet another 1. This parable tells us that there are different skills, and one should work to learn a higher set of skills that services a vital niche. The difference in skills does not mean that it is your destiny; it only means that everyone is unique and has different needs, and each of us starts to varying points in life.

What comes naturally to one will come after much hard work for another even though both love doing the same thing. So, the challenge is not to be number one, but rather each working to provide the best service possible for others.

In Mark 12:32, we read Jesus saying, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” The same idea is in the old testament as well. Leviticus 19:18, “but love your neighbor as yourself.”

Using this definition, let’s try and answer a few questions

What does Bible say about making money fast?

One can make money as fast as one can perform the service. As long as the service provided is accepted by the person receiving the service, one can make money fast.

Jesus performed many miracles while he was on this earth, but he did not do one where he made a man or a woman rich. A man was created to work and to glorify God with his effort. So earning money and becoming wealthy is a journey and not a lotto win.

How does God give you the power to get wealth?

God has given each one the ability to learn skills that can be used to serve others. Rendering the service gives you the certificate of performance that you can then convert into wealth.

Bible also says anyone can ask God for wisdom, and He will give it to you freely. So let him know what you want to learn and how you are planning to use it to serve others, and you are on your way to making wealth.

How do I ask God for a financial miracle?

Bible says, “Ask, and it shall be given,” Bible also says, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24. Receiving a financial miracle from God is two-fold; one is to ask, and the other is to believe it has happened. The belief here means that your action reveals it to be true.

God’s miracle is not sitting in one place and waiting for something to happen. Instead, it is done with you moving forward in faith, believing that God has already answered your prayer, and it is up to you to “seek and find.”

What is the best prayer for money?

There are two verses that we can use here. One, “Give us this day our daily bread,” you are acknowledging that God is the one who provides all your needs. Two, “He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters” You believe that God will give you all your both green pastures and the ability to enjoy it.

The Biblical way to making more money is to serve others by becoming an expert in performing a niche set of skills that adds the most significant value to your neighbor.

2 Timeless Must-have Principles That Set You Up for Success

I am reading through Ecclesiastes for my morning devotions, and I came across two verses, which form a recipe for success.

Ecclesiastes 11:4,6

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

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The two timeless principles for your success are as follows: Success does not come from an opportunity, so don’t wait for it and have more than one line in the water.

Let’s unpack these two timeless principles below.

Success does not come from an opportunity, so don’t wait for it.

When we hear about stories where a person made the best of the opportunity they came across, our most common reaction is how lucky they are. Unfortunately, we fail to remember that the person who used that opportunity was prepared to take advantage of that opportunity.

Basketball legend John Wooden rightly asserts that “When opportunity comes, it is too late to prepare.” The time to get started on your goals is now. There is no better day than today. You have a decision to make today, an opportunity to make a choice; how do you want the rest of your life to be? What you do today will determine your tomorrow.

Benjamin Franklin understood what Solomon says in verse 4. He says, “Only today is worth two tomorrows; what I am to be, I am now becoming.” Are you waiting for a big break in your life? Are you waiting for an opportunity to fall on your lap? What preparations have you made to accomplish your goals?

Take Initiative

The word initiative is defined as the ability to assess and initiate (do things) things independently. You act instead of reacting in life. There will always be a reason to postpone what you need to do. Are you looking for that reason? Solomon talks about the wind and the clouds that put off a person from planting and harvesting. These verses may be written as a person looking at the economy and the uncertainty in the market and delaying starting a business in today’s terms.

Taking the initiative also means you are not saying “this is not my job” because you may be missing out on an opportunity every time you say that. Your fresh set of eyes in that situation may be what is needed to solve a problem that they have. If you stayed away, you have lost a chance to spot and take advantage of an opportunity.

 “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

There is no reaping without sowing. So, if you want to reap the reward, you need to have done the preparation and the work.

Have more than one line in the water

Having more than one line in the water is a fishing analogy where you have multiple lines to increase the probability of you catching a fish.

at the evening let your hands not be idle

After you have done a full day’s work, Solomon’s advice is not to put your feet up and take a rest or watch TV till you fall asleep. Instead, he recommends taking on another skill either to learn one or practice one. Starting a side hustle is a biblical principle. What are you interested in learning? What have you been keen on trying recently? There are numerous examples of businesses that started as a side hustle and became their mainstream income.

In 2009 Kevin Systrom was working at Nextstop.com as a product manager. When he was not working, he taught himself to code. He eventually built an app called Burbn, which was a mobile check-in app with pictures. He found out that people were very much interested in sharing photos with friends. So, in 2010, he quit his day job, raised capital, and started an app called Instagram. Eventually, his company was purchased by Facebook for over a Billion dollars.

Do you see the two principles in action here? First, Kevin was having a second line in the water while still doing his first job. Second, he had to learn new skills for him to have a second line. Kevin did not do more of the same thing (being a project manager), but he acquired adjacent skills in the same field and put it to use.

for you do not know which will succeed

For every successful side hustle story, there will be at least another 100 that did not make it. Solomon is very practical about it. He is not guaranteeing you success. In fact, he says, “you do not know” Sometimes, you may have to pivot and refine your idea, while other times, you will have to scratch the whole plan and start again. In the above example, did you notice that Kevin began with an app called Burbn but then, identifying a new demand, had to pivot and rename his app to meet that demand?

Whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Sometimes one or the other while other times, both will do well. Since you can’t predict the future, no one can, it is wise to pick up new skills that add to our expertise. Do not wait for an opportunity; it may never come. Instead, volunteer yourself to learn new things and create opportunities for yourself. The time to do it to now. There is no better opportunity than today. Put into action these two principles and see how it changes your life.

I will leave you with the principles again,

Ecclesiastes 11:4,6

“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Your Life’s Journey From Egypt to Canaan

Let’s track the life of Caleb on his journey from Egypt to Canaan and learn the three stages of your journey to success. The life in Egypt, the life in the desert of Paran, and the life beyond the Jordan River.

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Life in Egypt

Growing up, Caleb would have heard about Joseph and his contribution to the Egyptian kingdom and how his ancestors lived and were respected. He would have heard about Moses, how the princess of Egypt raised him as a prince in the palace, how Moses killed an Egyptian to protect an Israelite, and how he had to run away from the king of Egypt. Finally, Caleb would have heard stories about his great grandfather Jacob who came to live his final days in Egypt. Jacob’s life and his success would have been stories that grandparents shared with their grandchildren.

Abraham would have been another source of inspiration for Caleb. He would have heard about how God promised to make his descendants a nation, and the promise of the land of Canaan would have been part of the stories that Caleb would have heard. Unfortunately, all these things were in the past. Caleb’s current situation did not reflect any of the stories that he had heard. The promise seemed nowhere near to be true. Caleb would have longed for the promise to come true, but most of the details remained unknown to him. He had no idea how he would inherit the land promised to Abraham, but he was determined to do what was required.

Caleb realized that Egypt was not the promised land, but they had food to eat and a place to stay. The work was horrible, to say the least, but it provided for their basic needs at the minimum.

Over generations, many of the people of Israel had to come to accept their situation as a reality. They thought that this is how life is, their destiny, or it was not meant to be. There is no way to get ahead; the system is stacked against them. So some started to think that the idea of a promised land may not have been a promise after all but only a dream.

Your previous or current situation could be this way. Either you were in Egypt, or you are in an Egypt-like situation right now. Where you were born or what you are doing in terms of work seems like you are slaves, working for a minimum wage, and there is no real future for you. You may be debating if this is all life has to offer. But, if it was in the past, you remember exactly how you felt trying to make ends meet working a minimum wage and the feeling of hopelessness about life in general.

The people of Israel had to leave Egypt and cross the Red sea to move on to their next stage in life. How about you? Are you ready to make the journey? Nobody said it is going to be easy. Israelites had their own list of challenges to overcome, and so do you. Nevertheless, you need to leave Egypt to get to the next stage. It is out there and not where you currently are.

The Desert of Paran

This is the second stage of life in Caleb’s journey to success; life was better than in Egypt. He is not a slave anymore. All his needs are met. The trip to the promised land has begun. The dreadful life in Egypt is now starting to become a thing of the past. The Israelites thought from now on everything will be ‘rainbows and ponies, and so they were disappointed whenever they faced any obstacle.

How many times have we felt the same way? Finally, we overcome some obstacles and start to think it will be smooth sailing from here on out, only blue skies and wind in our sails, but we soon become disappointed when the wind blows against us.

The people of Israel press on, but they are a tough crowd. The turning of the bitter water in Marah, the manna from heaven, satisfies them only for a moment. How many times are we the same way? The miracles of life don’t seem to impress us anymore. When a challenge comes, we throw our hands up in the air and say, why this? Why me? And why now?

Israel and Caleb have gotten used to this routine now. They know where their next meal is coming from. No evil taskmaster is breathing down their neck. They have learned new skills like finding food for their flocks in the desert and navigating rugged terrain. They also realize that their work is much better than the one they were doing in Egypt. Their stress and anxiety levels have come down as they don’t need to fear their lives or their children anymore.

The temptation for many of us is, should we now put our feet up and say, I have come this far in life. I have faced my share of challenges and have made tremendous progress. Look where I have come from; look at my beginnings. My achievements are proof that I have made it. So let me give myself a pat on the back and take the rest I deserve.

Almost all the Israelites did not want to go into the promised land. The land that they had longed to go to. The land they had dreamed about. Why? They did not want to face any more challenges. They wanted a smooth ride. From where they stood, there were no enemies around, no one chasing after them. The passion and the drive to move forward had left them. They were ready to give up but not Caleb; his mindset was different.

In the Promised land

The promised land is on the other side of the desert. You have seen evidence of it sometimes in your own lives or other times in the lives of others. There is a lot more to see and experience in the promised land than where you are now.

Caleb knew his inheritance was on the other side of Jordan, and he was ready to go and take it. Read Joshua 14: 10 – 12

10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Caleb is ready to take on the challenge ahead of him and stake a claim to his inheritance. Caleb asks and receives Hebron and the rest of his tribe (Judah) to acquire Hebron’s land. Caleb was able to carve out his own inheritance because he did not decide to settle on the outskirts of the promised land. Instead, he believed in the promise, and he worked to receive it.

Where are you in life today? Egypt? the desert? Or in the promised land?

The temptation is to settle for a portion on the outskirts of the promised land, but God’s purpose for you is to go and achieve more. Your goal should be to realize your full potential, everything that God has designed for you to succeed. Everything. If God had a list, then everything on his list. If God has a list of things you could accomplish, how many do you think you have completed? For example, on Moses’ list, God wanted Moses to redeem the people of Israel from slavery. What world problem do you think God wants you to solve?

Caleb demonstrates the mindset that you and I need to become the best we can be. By putting our trust in God and going after what he wants us to do with everything we have for His glory.

Two Key Aspects to a Mustard Seed Faith

There are two key aspects that we need to practice the mustard seed faith. First, let’s go to Mark 9:14 – 29 to see what they are.

Jesus and Peter, James and John are coming down from the mountain after the glorious transfiguration of Jesus. The 9 other disciples were at the foot of the mountain trying to chase a demon from a young boy.

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Jesus enquires why the heated discussion is taking place, and his immediate response reveals it is a matter of faith or rather a lack of it. In verse 19, Jesus says, “You unbelieving generation,” ….. How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

Jesus reveals that the inability to heal the young boy was due to the people’s lack of faith, both the father and the disciples. What did they lack? Why were they not able to deliver the boy from the clutches of the devil? How could we bring deliverance in our lives and in the lives of others around us? What does mustard seed-like faith mean? Could we do it today?

The two key aspects that Jesus reveals in this incident demonstrate how a mustard seed-like faith may be deployed. Jesus divulges that by acknowledging that He is God and taking the necessary action, one can realize the power of God in their lives.

Let’s dive a little bit deeper and see how Jesus does these two things.

Jesus is God

The father of the young boy is desperate for deliverance. He had tried everything that he could do, and they have come to Jesus as their last hope. How is that today? How many times do you go to God as the last option? You have tried everything you could do in your own strength and exhausted every available opportunity you could access, and then you think about Jesus when all your hope is gone.

In verse 22, the father says, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” The father’s hopelessness is revealed in this statement. He does not realize what Jesus can do for his son. First, he is disappointed that the disciples could not heal his son, and now, his doubts are even louder in his mind. He must have thought that his family is cursed, and all the worse rumors that he had heard from his neighbors and the community are accurate. His family is cursed for some great sin that they had committed.

How often have we felt the same way? Desperate to know why we have to undergo this situation and if there will be any deliverance.

Jesus corrects the father immediately and reveals the first fundamental principle. In verse 23, Jesus says, “‘If you can’?”, “Everything is possible for one who believes.” It is not about if Jesus can do anything in this situation, It is about you. Do you believe that Jesus can do it for you? Jesus says that we need to be confident that God is all-powerful and nothing is impossible for Him.

Trust in God’s ability is the first step that one needs to demonstrate mustard seed faith. Peter and John do that in the temple to the lame man. They said, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” The name of Jesus is capable of doing all things because Jesus is God.

Take Action

After the healing, Jesus and his disciples are alone in the house, and the disciples want some feedback from Jesus. First, they wanted to know why they could not perform the miracle for the young boy.

Here Jesus reveals the following principle in mustard seed faith. In verse 29, He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” In some manuscripts, you read “only by fasting and prayer.” So it is that one needs to take action to demonstrate the faith they claim to have. One cannot sit still and expect that everything will fall in place just because they have prayed.

The lame man in the case of Peter and John had to rise up on his feet to see if he was healed, he had to jump for joy and claim that he was lame, but now he is healed in Jesus’ name.

When Jesus said that “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  He meant that one need not look for outward evidence of the miracle that one is seeking. Instead, we need to go about our work believing that we already possess the solution that we seek, and it will be revealed to us in due time.

Paul defines faith succinctly in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Even though you have not seen the evidence for it, you know it will come to pass as you know that you depend on the omnipotent God to give it to you.

Our Response

How should we respond to this? The father of the boy had the perfect response. He was candid about how he felt and did not seek to hide his thoughts. In verse 24, we read, Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Overcoming our unbelief is not going to be easy. We have been educated to keep our rational mind sharp, but to implement the mustard-seed faith, we need to think like a child and hope like one. Even though we don’t see any evidence of it, we should bring ourselves to know that it will come to pass at the appointed time.

When a farmer plants the seeds, he does not have any evidence that shows that he will have a bountiful harvest, but the farmer believes that he will have one. He waters the ground, knowing that the seed will sprout any day and grow and yield a plentiful harvest. Why should we think any differently? What are you seeking from God today? As you go about your day today, praise Him for granting your request. He is willing and able to do for you more than you can imagine.

All glory be to God!