Tuesday, January 21, 2014

(40 Days of Focus) Day SEVENTEEN: "Better Together"

Read: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT).

Think About It: He was tired, burnt out, and left feeling empty and discouraged. He had given all he had to give, yet the results of his seemingly endless efforts didn’t show much to look at. He was a visionary, had set many goals, and communicated a plan that gave realistic hope that the goal was reachable. After the dust had settled and there was time to look back and ask the questions of “what went wrong,” and “how did we get from great dreams to great disappointments,” there was made a great discovery. He had had a team, yet chose to run after the “big prizes” alone. All roads to the dream appeared to start and stop with Him. The weight of success was harnessed upon his own shoulders. Others were expected to share in the work of the details, but not in the work of the dream. One by one he was left alone to do what he’d already been doing. Only now, he felt the full strain of that decision.

Going Deeper: “Going it alone” may sound heroic and make for an iconic character in a blockbuster hit, but goes against the grain of what God intends. Solomon, the wisest of human kings, shares practical, unchanging insight to this life-changing principle.  People were not created to be totally independent, but rather, interdependent.  You need others, and others need you.  No one was created with everything.  To exist with this mindset it to live infected with a cancerous pride that promotes you above others. There is a story told of two oxen who could individually pull a load of 1,000 pounds! Separately, 2,000 pounds would be their target and maximum weight. When linked together, however, they were then able to pull an astounding 10,000 pounds!  That’s five times more than when alone. When you allow your life to be intertwined with the lives of others, equally astounding are the results.  You will be amazed to find that together, you encourage one another, challenge one another, hold one another accountable, pray for and with one another.  Individually, you are limited to your own resources, gifts, talents, understanding, and experiences.  But God created life to be lived together. Together, you combine your resources with those of others and what you are able to accomplish is precisely what God had intended!

Next Step: Have you ever offered to help someone and were turned down; perhaps because they didn’t want to trouble you, put you out, or cause you to feel you “had to”? Have you ever done the same? Don’t try to do alone what God intended for you to do together. Refuse to allow pride to convince you that you are irreplaceable or more important than you really are. Consider a current project you have before you. Sure, you could probably do it yourself. Instead, call someone you are connected with, or would like to be connected with. Ask them to help you or to do it with you. No, it’s not taking advantage of people if the motivation is relationship-minded. You will be blessed and you will bless them at the same time.

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