Many see career ambition as materialistic and worldly. Some, however, feel it is their duty to become the best example of hard work and ambition as a follower of Christ. Others have just not made up their minds on the matter. Of course, there is a third group, those caught between the two worlds who focus on money, fame and self-glorification. So where do you stand on this continuum?
1 Chronicles 4:10 "Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested."
There are few scriptures that speak as boldly about ambition for success as the Prayer offered by Jabez. And yet we know very little bit about this man. He was from the line of Judah. He was named by his mother because she had great pain giving birth to him. He was also somehow more honorable than his brothers, and we know that he prayed a bold prayer in faith that God would expand his land. We know he received his request from God.
When was the last time you prayed that God would expand your influence, your holdings, your success or your land? If you believe it is sinful to succeed professionally and financially, then you would probably never think to utter these words.
I understand this...to some degree. It is, at the very least, tempting to use wealth for our own pleasures and comfort. We are even warned in 1 Timothy 6 that those who desire to be rich fall into a temptation, a snare and many harmful desires.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 "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. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
Q: So how can we strive for financial success without it becoming a snare?
A: Commit to using your wealth to serve God’s children and bring glory to His name!
Acts 2:44-45 "All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need."
The key here is that we don’t put our hope in wealth. To do so is a trap. Wealth does not make us better or more important. It does not provide for us, God does. If not viewed properly, wealth could very well become a stumbling block to our own spiritual growth. We can, instead, use our wealth to build up the church and take care of the family of believers.
That means we don’t strive for success for our own good. We strive for success for the good of the body and Christ!
How willing are you to use the riches God has given you to serve the family of believers? Jabez was said to be an honorable man. This is how we can look out our own success, in an honorable way. What an honor to give what we make and take care of the needy and less fortunate.
I believe (and coach others to the same conviction) this is the right place to start. Commit to giving away, and giving generously BEFORE you make your riches. You don’t even have to be wealthy to be extremely generous. No matter how little you have, someone near you has even less. Share what is yours, today. Let’s expand our land, sell it and expand our land even more. To God be the glory.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.
Shawn Sommerkamp, speaking to the Charleston Church of Christ at the New Year's Eve church service Dec 31, 2017.
Targeted goal-setting is powerful and effective. It helps us keep clarity of outcome. Breaking big desires down into smaller, achievable goals makes success achievable. The biggest challenges are overcome as we make a series of small goals that, collectively, lead to big outcomes.
And yet, just setting a bunch of goals can often be discouraging when we don’t reach them. Ever wonder why we often fall short? It’s because the goals weren’t smart! I’m not talking about whether the goals are stupid or intelligent either. I’m talking about a simple way of thinking about an activity designed to help us achieve results. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. and it stands for the following:
It’s early January.
The Holidays are over.
It can feel like we go from the ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ to the most challenging time of the year.
A more appropriate lyric, now that it is time to make resolutions & get back to work, could be one of the following…
‘It’s The Most:
- Crazy busy
- Cash poor
- Weight Gaining
…Time Of The Year.’`
It’s not that you are
You want to enjoy it, but
it can feel more like “I just want to get through it.”
Although your MIND knows that God’s will for you (according to 1 Th 5:16-18) is to:
“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”
...your HEART can lag behind & this simple command can seem overwhelming.
Sometimes you can put your finger on what’s dragging you down & other times it’s more elusive ~ not really sure what’s keeping things from being ‘Wonderful’.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Give thanks, no matter what is happening in your life. This is easy…right?
A national polling firm named Penn, Schoen, & Berland conducted a survey, mid-2012, evaluating American attitude toward thankfulness. They conducted more than 2,000 interviews across the US general population. I’m only going to share a few pieces of the overall report:
Where is the one place people are least likely to express gratitude? WORK
Based on this survey, that hardest circumstance to give thanks exists in and around the workplace. Isn’t that amazing? The place we spend the most waking hours (about 2,200 hours per year, about 110,000 hours in working lifespan) we aren’t thankful for. Wow!
The truth is our career is not just a way to make a living - it’s a way to transform the world. It’s the place God placed us so that we could make the biggest difference in our service to him.
Do you remember when these 3D-Hidden Object posters
came out? They were quite the RAVE…
They were not what they appeared to be at first glance… If you wanted to understand what the poster was really about, you had to stop what you were doing, get real close to it – focus on it, and back away very slowly… and then – like magic – 3D images would appear / seemingly emerge right off of the paper (3D effect). The embedded 3D images were disguised and hidden to the untrained/unfocused eyes.
Some people (me included sometimes) would get frustrated if we could not see the 3D images fast enough – some were easier than others… and missed the ‘magic’ of the poster.