Taking the initiative in life is a talent each of us should cultivate; relying first on ourselves ultimately results in others recognizing our skills. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
As a parent one of life’s greatest wonders happens when a child shows initiative. A number of years ago my son Daniel was charged with coming up with a school project that would teach him discipline, skill, and persistence. At the time he was part of our homeschool so we relied heavily on our students’ ability to think creatively and work without a great deal of supervision. Dan was working at a local bike shop at the time building bikes, so I figured he would come up with some sort of project connected with bikes. You can imagine my surprise when he walked into my office and announced that he was going to take apart the engine on a an old car I kept in a barn nearby. While he didn’t get the entire engine apart, he did succeed in removing a number of parts, all without my prompting. I was impressed with his initiative and he scored high on that project.
Daniel owned that project from the start. I provided the car and the encouragement, he did the rest. Taking the initiative in life is a talent each of us should cultivate; relying first on ourselves may result in a domino affect.
Here’s a story: He was born in Columbus, Ohio, 1890, the third of eight children. At eleven he quit school to help with the family expenses, and got his first full-time job at $3.50 per week. At fifteen he got interested in automobiles and went to work in a garage at $4.50 a week. He knew he would never get anywhere without more schooling, so he subscribed to a correspondence home study course on automobiles. Night after night, following long days at the garage, he worked at the kitchen table by the light of the kerosene lamp. His next step was already planned in his mind–a job with Frayer-Miller Automobile Company of Columbus. One day when he felt ready, he walked into the plant. Lee Frayer was bent over the hood of a car. The boy waited. Finally, Frayer noticed him. “Well,” he said, “what do you want?” “I just thought I’d tell you I’m coming to work here tomorrow morning,” the boy replied. “Oh! Who hired you?” “Nobody yet, but I’ll be on the job in the morning. If I’m not worth anything, you can fire me.” Early the next morning the young man returned to the garage. Frayer was not yet there. Noticing that the floor was thick with metal shavings and accumulated dirt and grease, the boy got a broom and shovel and set to work cleaning the place. The rest of the boy’s future was predictable. He went on to a national reputation as a racing car driver and automotive expert. In World War I he was America’s leading flying ace. Later he founded Eastern Airlines. His name–Eddie Rickenbacker. (Bits & Pieces, December, 1989, p. 22ff.)
God is capable of anything, including running our lives down to the most intimate detail. He could do that should he desire to be that intrusive. He isn’t. God’s scope of concern in our lives is similar to my role as a homeschool superintendent or Mr. Frayer the shop owner: We provide opportunities ripe for initiative. God’s role is salvation in Jesus Christ. It’s a role we can’t duplicate or even begin to explore. Nonetheless, the fact that we are saved is a fantastic opportunity for us to exercise our faith by assuming habits of Christian behavior based on our own initiative to work with our faith, adding to it daily just as Rickenbacker did with his broom and Dan with his wrench. We need to daily show Christian initiative as God surveys his creation in us and observes a work in the making which someday will be well done in Christ.
We pray. Thank you Lord for giving us the opportunity to grow our faith daily by taking the initiative because of our salvation in Christ. Forgive us Lord, when we hesitate because we don’t want to make a mistake or do something that may impede our growth in Christ. Help us the realize that you rule over our lives but do not run them. You have left it up to us to live in accordance with your Word in faith, a faith that is always stretching and growing. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry
about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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