Have you ever participated in a white elephant gift exchange? I know Christmas is over but as I was thinking about this Thought for the Day I could not help but think about the popular gift-giving experience where people contend with one another to walk away with the best present. Though there are many different options on how to conduct the exchange, everyone brings a gift to contribute to a common pile, in which participants draw names or numbers to determine what order they will go in. As each person makes their choice and discovers what they have gotten, each subsequent person has the opportunity to steal it away. It never fails, even though I try to size up what is on the inside of the mystery gift, I always chose the wrong present and no one ever steals what I end up with. Hahaha!
At the top of the year I posted this ★ Thought for the Day – Living A Lasting Legacy ★, which was about making the most out the “brief time on earth,” to make an impact on the future generation, not just for my children, but for my children’s children! Today’s Thought will build upon this idea of a Living A Lasting Legacy to give some practical application. If you have a pulse, you should be thinking about what kind of impact you are making on the relationships in your life whether it is with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or even strangers. God has put these people into our lives for a reason, and it is our responsibility not to waste the opportunity. I love what Marvin J. Ashton said,
“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
“Leave people better than you found them.” I am a firm believer of that way of living. Just a couple days ago I was listening to a podcast from Louie Giglio called “The Piñata and the Iceberg,” in which he contrasted the decorative cardboard and paper mache animal containing candy, and the significance of the large floating mass of ice. In the message, he made this powerful point:
“The Piñata is a picture of the culture we live in. We live in hollow days. Richard J. Foster said it this way,
It is a difference to being a piñata in the world or being an iceberg in the world…An iceberg is what it is because of the substance that you cannot immediately see. It’s what is below the surface that makes an iceberg something of substance.”
That is what I want to be, a man of substance. A man who has depth and always on mission as Paul stated in Acts 20:24 (NLT)…
“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
After sharing this with the guys in my life group, there was some great conversation on what it means to be a Man of Substance. One of threads from the group text was this great listing that I just have to share in its entirety because it’s just that good…
“There is more to being a Man of Substance than just holding everyone accountable to just the spiritual side. I believe it’s a balance with a lot of different aspects. This is what we as men need to work on if we are going to do this.
Areas of Concern:
- Alone time with Christ.
- Alone time with wife.
- Alone time with kids.
- Alone time with yourself.
- Alone time with guys only.
Non-Negotiables as Men:
- Provider of family – Full Time Job.
- Financial steward of money – Tithe
- Physical activity – Exercise.
- Protector of family – Boundaries.
- Spiritual leader of home – Modeling.
I believe Jesus’s brother James nailed it when he said, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22.
We not need to “Just Do It!” Otherwise we are just fooling ourselves! What a great list of how to be a Man or Substance…and I dare say you could extrapolate that list to be a guide for how to be a Woman of Substance as well. I truly believe that these items are exactly what God wants for us, and are practical stepping stones to move us away from the “piñata culture” of superficiality and hollowness to a life as an iceberg that has great depth.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
If God is not a priority, and if we are not chasing after Him with all our heart, then the chances of getting the rest correct on that list is slim to none in my opinion. I love that list, and I completely agree with everything on it…Balancing all the aspects of life is essential…but God MUST BE FIRST and once that is case, all the other aspects will begin to fall into place.
Here are some suggestions that will help you to center your life on God and seek after His Kingdom and His righteousness. These are strategies that I learned and implemented from Todd McIntyre, the Men’s Pastor at Gateway Church which has helped me greatly develop in my spiritual maturity:
- Daily quiet time (usually before my family gets up,) filled with prayer, journaling and reading scripture (sometimes a reading plan and other times a section of a book of the Bible.) You can read more about this in the post ★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★, which is all about developing your Spiritual Maturity.
- Fast and pray from sundown to sundown once a week for sanctification and revival in my life, (usually on Monday.)
- Meditate on, and write a “Thought for the Day” once a week that God has been speaking into my spirit and heart. This was not from Pastor Todd by was a natural outflow from my quiet time, and ultimately that is how this Blog was born!
I don’t share this to brag but rather to give a model of what has worked for me to develop my spiritual fitness and deepen my walk with God. I certainly don’t always get this right, or do it all perfectly but I try…and these habits have resulted in “Becoming a Glacier” as Louie Giglio described in the sequel to the “The Piñata and the Iceberg.” To become a glacier is a slow, purposeful process over a prolonged period which is synonymous with steadfastness or sanctification that will lead to becoming more and more like Jesus. The key is patience…
“Impatience is the nemesis to habit.” Louie Giglio
So the choice is yours, what will you decide? Continue down the path of superficiality or will you heed Jesus’ command in Matthew 6:33 and dig deeper? I will close with this quote that I read somewhere…
“Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if GOD hands you a shovel.”
It is going to take work and time but it’s worth it, I promise you!