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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

God's requests

God makes three requests of his children: Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now”
 African-American Proverb

When I stumbled on this proverb, I found it rather basic and yet profound and progressive.
Let’s break it down:
1. Do the best you can

Doing your best requires an effort - a conscious one too. To make sure you're not misapplying your effort, you need to first assess where you are in life and then go the extra mile. You have to be honest to yourself - noone can do this for you. Until you come to a realisation (& accpetance) of where you are and how close or far you are to/from your target you cannot progress. Then you can take the next step even if it means stretching yourself. Yes, you need to stretch yourself to do your best...and stretching is a continuous process.

There are lots of books that give guidance on how to assess oneself and move to the next level. Some that readily come to mind for me (and which have helped and continue to help me) are:

Understanding your potential
                                                                              Releasing your potential
by Myles Munroe

 You’re born an original, don’t die a copy
An enemy called Average
by John Mason   

There are several other books there but it doesn't end with reading need to do something. In summary, “You are doing your best only when you are trying to improve what you are doing” (Author unknown) 
Let's move on...

2. Do the best you can, where you are

Do you know this chorus?
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine (3 times)
Let it shine (3 times)

 2 things struck me from this chorus:
  1. A light cannot shine anywhere other than where it is. The light in one room or down the street could reflect in a different location but not much further than where it is. And of course it is brightest at its point of origin.
  2. The other thing is that as human beings, we have the ability to “permit” our lights to shine. It starts with a decision to let your light shine. Matthew 5:16 and 1 Peter 2:9 sas that God has chosen us to shine as lights but He doesn’t force us to shine. It’s all up to us.
Oprah Winfrey puts this point nicely:
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”

3. Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now

Some people spend their time thinking about all they could have done yesterday and remaining over missed opportunities. I'd liken a missed opportunity to a broken egg - get over it and be more careful with the next egg.

Others spend time daydreaming or wishing about all they hope to do in the future or even tomorrow. Day dreams are not much value if you don’t do anything about them – “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill

One of the most successful entrepreneurs said: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” (Walt Disney) The only way you can pursue your dreams is by starting now. Yes now, today – not tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the enemy of today (not sure if I made that up or if I heard it somewhere) The fact is that too many of us (including me) put things off and never get around to doing some things and then when today  goes by, we look at what we could have done yesterday with regret.

This short poem puts things in perspective for me:

Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present. (author unknown)
Ps 90:12 Has a valuable prayer: "Teach us to use wisely all the time we have."*

God expects each one of us to redeem the days – so please “Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now.” Don’t put it off till tomorrow “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” (African Proverb) and “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

“When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” ~ John M. Richardson, Jr.

Which of these 3 people do you intend to be when the future comes? Well, I guess what you do today will answer that question tomorrow. God bless and help us all.

*Contemporary English Version

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