Category: Stewardship

NO ~ The Most Powerful Two Letter Word

NO ~ The Most Powerful Two Letter Word

“By and large in our culture today we have abandoned a very valuable and financially profitable word.  A word that will change your life.  A word that will change politics in America.  A word that would solve the student loan debt problem.  A word that would cause children to behave.  We have lost this word.  It has been removed from our politically correct dictionaries.  We no longer say it to ourselves.  And if you so dare as to say it to someone else; you will be persecuted, tweeted about, and talked about for days.  There will be negative articles written about you.  This is a powerful word.  It is a word so seldom heard it may shock you when you hear it because you haven’t heard it used much.  It is not illegal yet to use this word, but it may be soon.

It is a counter-culture word.  It is a word that will set you free.  It is a word that will change your life.  It is a word that will change the direction of your family tree.  It will help your career.  It will help you as a leader in your organization.  It will make you a better employee.  This is a powerful word, and I want you to practice it with me.  It is heard so seldom some of you will be so shocked when we annunciate it.  Here is how you do it.  You press your tongue towards the roof of your mouth, and as air is released through your vocal cords, you release your tongue making a kissing motion with your lips, and it sounds like this: NO!

It’s an ancient word.  Pull it out of the recesses of your mind, and install it back in the dictionaries that don’t require political correctness. You can’t go to college there, you can’t afford it – No!  You can’t buy that car!  No!  The government can’t provide you everything because it can’t print enough money.  No!  You can’t buy that toy; we don’t have the money.  We can’t go out to eat this week.  No!  We are not buying a car we cannot afford on payment.  No!  We are not going on vacation; we are broke and deeply in debt!  No is a powerful word.  The interesting thing about “no” is that it is a complete sentence.  I’m kind of an old school dad.  Some people think that means that I am mean to my children.  I love my children more than life itself.  I’m not confused about who runs the house.  The inmates don’t run the asylum.  When I say no that is it.  It is not the beginning of a negotiation.  As a parent I take a few moments and explain why I said no.  It is a teachable moment.  So that later on my kids can say no for themselves – it is called self-discipline.  It is one of the most powerful things that a human being can learn.    Self-control!  Self-discipline!  Parents that don’t teach their children discipline do not set them up for the ability to learn to discipline themselves or control themselves.  Spoiled children is what we called it back in the day.  Have you ever opened the jar of something that was spoiled?  It reeks to high heaven.  We must teach our children self-control.  Proverbs says train up a child in the way he should go, and when he grows old he will not depart from it.  We are raising a generation that thinks they are owed everything!  There are politicians on the left and right strutting around promising things they can’t produce.  Self-control and self-discipline are the sign of a mature human being.  Someone who is emotionally and spiritually mature.  When you can control yourself you have mastered the art of growing up.  We have an entire culture that has been buying things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t even like.  No!  It is life-changing!”  ~ Dave Ramsey

 

Learning to say “no” is learning to say “yes”

Have you ever given it a thought that the ability to say “no” is actually the ability to say “yes”?  Most of us struggle with using this word “no”.  We are a society that quickly says “yes”, but struggles with the ability to say “no”.  When we say “no” to some things it actually gives us the ability to say “yes” to other things.  Good stewards know when to say “no”.  If you say “yes” to every request or demand you will never accomplish what you have set out to accomplish.  I used the above direct quote from Dave Ramsey on this subject of “no” because he articulates this so well.  “No” is a very complete sentence with no need for further explanation.  It is a two letter word that one uses to exhibit self-control and discipline.  This word is a word that we need to re-familiarize ourselves with.  This little word helps to set boundaries in your life.  This little two letter word is a true sign of a mature human being.  Don’t allow your emotions to make your decisions, but rather allow the facts to make the decisions for you.  Your emotions will often times lead you to places you didn’t want to go, be with people you never wanted to associate with, and cost you more than you ever intended to pay.

 

People struggle with being told “no”

Have you ever told someone kindly but firmly “no”, and then watched their expression?  Most people do not know how to respond to “no”.  I don’t mean that you have to be ugly about saying “no” in order to get your point across, but you do need to be firm when you say it.  You can say “no” with a smile on your face.  Remember this – someone else’s poor planning doesn’t mean it is an emergency situation for you.  When you put boundaries in your life saying “no” is just part of the process.  Dr. Henry Cloud in his book “Boundaries” states that “boundaries define us”.  Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into doing something you really don’t want to do or have time to do.  There are deadlines we all have to meet, and I can’t ignore my deadlines in order to help you meet yours.  This is where good planning should come into play.  Plan your day, your week, your month, and your year ahead of time.  Of course there will be times that you will need to make adjustments, but you do that within a clearly defined framework.  You must realize that some people are travel agents for a guilt trip.  They have the unique ability to make you feel bad if you say “no” to their request.

Teach your children to know when to say “no”

I am convinced that learning when the right time to say “no” begins with our children when they are little.  Children don’t have to be taught to say “no” they just need to be taught when it is the right time to say “no”.  Remember more is caught than taught, so we as parents must demonstrate to our children how and when and why we say “no”.  If we can instill this in them when they are young when they get older they will have some very healthy boundaries in their life that will propel them to success.

 

You can do this

Learning to say “no” won’t happen over night.  Understand the difference between the urgent and important.  Not everything that is urgent is important, and not everything that is important is urgent.  You will be challenged on a regular basis to give in to the urgent.  Saying “no” isn’t always easy, but necessary.  The cool thing is this; when you learn to say “no” you are giving yourself permission to say “yes” to the things that really matter the most.  You will find yourself being more productive.  You will find yourself doing what you enjoy doing.  You will set yourself free from the pressure of others who try and guilt you into doing what they want you to do.  Saying “no” is about getting your priorities right, and bringing balance into your life!  Yes, YOU CAN DO THIS!

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TIME

TIME

There are 365 days a year which is broken down into 12 month cycles.  Those 12 month cycles are broken down into 52 weeks.  Those 52 weeks are broken down into 7 day weeks.  Those 7 day weeks break down into 24 hour days, which breaks down into 1 hour cycles, which breaks down into 60 minutes, and each minute is broken down into 60 seconds.

Whether you or I like it or not the clock just keeps ticking.  Calendars, clocks, and watches of all kinds helps us to keep track of time.  We are “racing the clock” to meet deadlines, appointments, and schedules.  The technology available to us is supposed to help us be more efficient so we can get more done, but often times it causes us to over schedule, over commit, which leads to ultimately over promising and under delievering.

 

I just wish I had more time

We have all said it: “I just wish I had more time” to do all that needs to be done.  The truth of the matter is you have plenty of time.  You have the same 60 seconds a minute that the next individual has.  The problem is that we don’t need more time, but we need to learn how to prioritize our time.  How we spend our money is often a good indicator how we spend our time, and how we spend our time is often a good indicator of how we spend our money.  Learn to prioritize your time.  Look at what is important, and begin there.  Here is an idea: when you are at work you should be working.  Don’t just work hard, but work smart.  Your time, and energy is too valuable to waste.  Once that 8 hour work day is gone it can never be used again.  Do work that matters.  Do work that makes a difference.  Think of it like this: you are hired to do a job for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  You have been hired at a rate of $15/hour.  What you have essentially done is traded your giftings, talents, and abilities for $15/hour.  If you work 40 hours a week you will earn $600.00 for that week of work.  Now suppose you want to be like everyone else and have the new iPhone 7 plus with 256 GB of memory; you would pay $969.00 for that phone.  It would take you 64.6 working hours at $15/hour in order to pay for this phone. Or in other words you are allocating a little over 8 working days of your life just to have a phone like everyone else has.  8 working days that you will never get back again.  8 days of your giftings, talents, and abilities just to have the latest technology.

Prioritize your time with what matters most.  Work to provide for your family.  Spend quality time with your family.  Spend quality time on your relationship with God.  The clock is ticking.  Maximize every moment of time you have, because once that moment is gone you will never get it back.

 

Your calendar shows what is important

Use your calendar wisely.  Schedule date nights with your spouse.  Schedule quality time with your children.  Schedule time every day with God.  Mathew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.”

When we steward our time correctly we actually get more done.  Your calendar gives you the ability to say “no” when necessary in order not to over commit yourself.  Schedule travel time between your appointments or events on your calendar so that you arrive on time.  My father taught my brother and I growing up that “to be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is not to be.”  Let that sink in for just a minute.  If you are running a meeting with 30 people in the room, and the meeting is to start at 9:00am, and you don’t start the meeting until 9:01am, then what you have just done is wasted 30 minutes of time that you will never get back.  It may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but start the meeting 10 minutes late and now that number of minutes wasted as grown to 300 minutes.  That my friend is a big deal.

The time you have been given is very valuable.  Once it is gone you can never have that time again.  Make every moment count.  A calendar is to your time what a budget is to your money.  Be intentional with the time you have.

 

18 Minutes

I highly recommend you get and read the book “18 Minutes” by Peter Bregman.  18 Minutes provides a solution to struggles and frustrations.  It’s a comprehensive approach to managing a year, a day, and a moment so that your life will move forward in a way that will keep you focused on, and doing, the things that are most important.  The book is broken down into 4 parts: “Pause”, “What is this year about”, “What is this day about”, and “What is this moment about”.

In part 1, Pause, you’ll set the foundation that will enable you to take the insights from the book and translate them into action.  This part will help you focus on the right things, translate those things into a daily plan, follow through with that plan, and master the inevitable distractions that threaten to undermine your efforts.

In part 2, What Is This Year About?, you’ll be guided to organize your life around the things that matter to you, make you happy, use your gifts, and move you toward your goals. In this part, I’ll share four elements around which you should focus your efforts over the year. We’ll look at some of the ways people tend to derail themselves from maintaining a clear focus, and I’ll offer some strategies to avoid those derailers. In the final chapter of this section, you’ll pull it all together to create your annual focus: the five areas where you want to spend the majority of your time over the next year.

In part 3, What Is This Day About?, you’ll learn how to translate your annual focus into an 18-minute daily plan, ensuring that the right things get done, concretely structuring your day so it’s productive, satisfying, and a measurable step toward fulfilling your focus for the year.

In part 4, What Is This Moment About?, you’ll learn how to master distraction—sometimes by using it, sometimes by avoiding it. Here you’ll learn how to get yourself motivated, how to follow through even when it’s tempting to give up, and how to protect yourself and your time by creating the right kind of boundaries. This section is divided into three subsections—Mastering Your Initiative, Mastering Your Boundaries, and Mastering Yourself—and is full of simple tricks, tips, and rules to help you stay on track.

Finally, the conclusion, Now What?, sets you on your way by sharing a foolproof method for gaining the critical momentum to move you in the direction you want to go.

 

Start Now

Don’t wait until tomorrow, because precious moments will be lost forever.  You can’t afford to wait.  Why put off until tomorrow what you could and should do today?  Start today!  Start right now!

Managing Your Resources

Managing Your Resources

The definition of “stewardship” according to Webster’s Dictionary is: “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”.  The question that we all must ask ourselves is this: “Am I being a good steward (or manager) of what has been entrusted to me?”  When you study the creation account found in Genesis chapter 1 & 2 you will find that man was not present while God was creating.  God created the provision, and then created man and place man in the middle of what God had already created.  It is recorded in Genesis 2:15 that the Lord took man and put him into the garden of Eden “to dress it, and to keep it”.

We have time, talents, and treasures that have been given to us to be good stewards of.

 

What are you doing with your time?

We have all made the statement “I just wish there was more hours in the day to get everything done that I need to get done”.  The truth of the matter is that we do have enough hours in the day to accomplish what we need to accomplish.  The issue is we have not learned how to be a good steward of our time.  It is not that we don’t have enough time, we have not learned to prioritize our time.  We often get caught up in doing things that are urgent, but not important.  We allow distractions to interrupt us, and as a result we have run out of time.  Once this moment is gone it is forever gone.  In order to accomplish what you need to accomplish you need to learn to prioritize your time.  Make a list of things to get done, and then focus on getting them done.  Turn off the distractions!  Silence your notifications, tv, radio, etc., and focus on the task at hand.  When you prioritize things you will find that you are able to get them done in a timely manner.

 

Don’t waste your talents!

You have gifting’s, talents, and abilities – don’t waste them on frivolous things.  Maximize the talent’s you have in “keeping and dressing” the resources you have.  Use your skills to increase your productivity.  Use your abilities to capitalize on the opportunities that become available to you.  You were given the skills, talents, and abilities in order to fulfill your purpose in life.  You were not created to just exist.  You were created for a purpose!  Find your purpose, and allow your talents to take you to places you never dreamed you could go!

 

Can you be trusted with Treasure?

When we think of treasure, typically the first thing to come to mind is money.  I often say that there are two things God has entrusted us with that does not belong to us, but we are to be good stewards of these two things.  Those two things are: TIME & MONEY!  We must learn to be faithful with little if we ever want to be trusted with much.  Some say money is evil!  Wrong!  The Bible says the “love of money is the root of all evil” – 1 Timothy 6:10.

Money in and of itself is not evil, but it becomes evil when we love it so much we will do anything to get it.  There is nothing wrong with having money.  You need money to live, and provide for yourself and your family.  However, the majority of people today have no clue what it means to be a good steward of treasure (money).  Dave Ramsey often says “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like”.  Rachel Cruze says in her latest book “Love Your Life Not Theirs” that debt is the biggest liar there is.  Debt convinces us that we can buy whatever we want, whenever we want it.  Proverbs 22:7 says “…the borrower is servant to the lender.”

What does good stewardship with my money look like?  If you want to handle money God’s way it looks like this:
1. Give the tithe (10% of your income) back to God.
2. Give some kind of offering above and beyond the tithe.
3. Pay your taxes.
4. Save (retirement, college for kids, vacation, emergencies, etc.)
5. Live on less than you make.
6. Avoid debt.

It is amazing how that stewardship of time, talent, and treasure are so intertwined.  You and I have been given the task to be responsible managers of what God has blessed us with.  We cannot afford to take this lightly.  Start being a good steward by getting organized.  Make a list of priorities for your time.  Make a budget for your finances.  You can do this!  Someday I want to hear the words “well done thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).