Weekly Thought – April 21, 2010
Fred once said he captured every valuable idea he heard, read, or considered. He wrote them on napkins, matchbooks, and especially church offering envelopes. He never traveled far from his tape recorder. Margie Keith spent years taking scraps of paper, and voice snippets and putting them into pages of “captured thoughts.” How grateful we are for both who made it possible to archive and utilize his gifts.
Thanks to all who encourage us week by week. Your words expressing how you use these wisdom emails help us. Thanks to everyone who contributes to make this work possible week by week.
1. Considerations on loss
Early one morning at a men’s conference I was greeted by one of the participants who attended my session with loss as the topic. “How would you like to lose $50 million, move your wife out of a three million dollar home, and take Chapter 11?” I asked, “Is that your story?” “Yes.”
It would have been easy to have told him to read the book of Job and put him on my prayer list. That may have been the proper approach for some, but for me it would have been sheer hypocrisy. It would have been irresponsible. Be clear – I am not saying scripture and prayer are the wrong response. But in this situation, I knew I was to offer something I was gifted to give – my business experience and strategic thinking.
We spent two hours going through his situation and considering the options. Often loss causes a cloud to settle in, limiting the ability to effectively think through the problem and possible solutions. In our time together we began the process of navigating through the cloud, finding suitable outcomes.
The book of Proverbs tells us when we have something in our hand to give another, it is wrong to withhold it. My training, my gifting, and my experience prepared me to sit down with him and begin a conversation that would lead him out of the fog.
We identified one option which would begin his way back. Two years later he contacted me telling me he had cleared Chapter 11 and was working his plan.
Benjamin Franklin assembled a list of character traits he wanted in his life. These virtues were considered part of a mature, successful life: temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. He established a plan to focus on each one week by week, studying them four times during the year. Even today I meet leaders who frame copies of this system and hang them on their office walls.
This practice made me think about not only putting on, but putting off. I asked myself “what habits would I like to break?” I put that question to you. What one, two, or three commitments would set the direction for change? Take one commitment in each major area of life (e.g. career, family, community), write down the desired outcome, and begin an intentional plan of action.
This week carefully consider: 1) How can I use my gifts and experiences to help in problem solving? 2) What do I do when the cloud of loss descends? 3) When do I do my best thinking?
Words of Wisdom: “Often loss causes a cloud to settle in, limiting the ability to effectively think through the problem and possible solutions.”
Wisdom from the Word: “How great are your works, O LORD! Your plans are very intricate!” (Psalm 92:5 NET Bible)