Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Are you telling a compelling story? (part 2)

In my last post, I wrote about story and the importance of telling a compelling one. In this post, let's take the concept of story to the next level and apply it to the seven investments of the rich Christian life.


How does your life's story read in regard to your worship of Almighty God? Are you spending quality, daily time in the Word and in prayer? Are you consistently attending worship services and actively involved in a local, Bible-believing church? Our life story should be a pursuit of the greatest commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Matthew 22:36-38). God wants all of us, and we demonstrate that through our private and public worship.


Are you truly living a life story of generosity? The gospel of Jesus is based on the principle of generosity. We should give to the poor. We should give to those in need. We should give to our churches in order to support ministry programs, the staff, and missions. We should give because we love God, we desire to be obedient to what He has asked us to do, and we can see a bigger picture. Our life here on earth is a training ground for our true life in heaven for all of eternity. Our best life is yet to come when we receive our eternal reward. We can invest the wealth God has entrusted to our management by sending it on ahead for heavenly gain. The pursuit of our story should begin with the end in mind - eternity with God.


Outside of our relationship with God, the people in our lives should be our next highest priority. How does your story read when it comes to your family, friends, mentors, mentees, and other professional relationships? Are you demonstrating a story of love to those around you? Are you fully engaged in investing time and resources into those who matter most in life? When your loved ones gather for your funeral someday, what do you think they will say about you? Will they say you were a loving person who cared about others, or are you fearful that they might not have a whole lot of positive things to say about your story?


God has created you for a purpose. He has a story that He wants to tell through you that only you can tell. He can tell that story more effectively if you have yielded yourself to the Lordship of Christ. Are you pursuing God's direction for your life? Are you using the talents and abilities that He has given to you for Kingdom purposes?


God has entrusted into your care His financial resources. The Bible is clear on the Christian's stewardship responsibility of His money. The evangelist Billy Graham has two great quotes about money:
If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.
Give me five minutes with a person's checkbook, and I will tell you where their heart is. 
Is your money story one of fiscal responsibility or irresponsibility? Does your checkbook reflect a person (or a family) whose heart is not centered on hoarding wealth, material possessions, or financial gain? Do you need to change your money story?


How does your life story read in regard to action? Are you giving yourself fully to the work God has called you to do (1 Corinthians 15:58)? Are you just being active, or are you truly focused on productivity in the 20% of your responsibilities that lead to 80% of your results (80/20 Rule)? God has called of us to do something and give ourselves fully to that task. Be sure that your story reflects this in your day-to-day actions.


Does your life story demonstrate a winning attitude? Do you display the 10 characteristics of a winner?Are you allowing the trials in your life for growth in your walk with Christ? Focus on accomplishing what God has shaped you to do here on earth, so that one day you can receive your eternal reward and hear these beautiful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21, NIV).

Conclusion - The Rocking Chair Technique

Tony Robbins, the popular self-help guru, has a strategy called "The Rocking Chair Technique" which he uses to help people program their brains to accomplish goals. The key elements to this approach are these:
  • Imagine yourself much older, sitting in your rocking chair and looking back over your life.
  • Imagine if you had NOT achieved your goal.
  • How would you feel? Experience the PAIN of loss.
  • Imagine if you HAD achieved your goal.
  • How would you feel? Experience the PLEASURE of success.
Using Tony's approach, I want you to imagine yourself as an old man or woman, sitting in a rocking chair, looking back over your life. If things continue the way they have been for you up to this point, how would your story read? Would you be satisfied or would you be filled with regret because you didn't live out a very compelling life story?

What do you need to do to write a better story?

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