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I have noticed that in life it’s often those things people do one day at a time cumulatively that build up to the largest rewards later. Inversely, it should also be noted, that some of the most dangerous sins, desires, and outcomes are typically garnered by the culprits of instant gratification or impatience. It’s remarkable how important it is to be as persistent in not giving in to those latter indiscretions, as it is to work diligently towards meaningful outcomes. This article is an attempt to elaborate why such goals are worthy and hopefully showcase some relevant examples of how they could apply in the real world. I think in showing some examples I could begin to articulate a good case for why they are worthwhile, so I will start with that.
What are some examples of persistence being rewarded?
The easiest example that comes to mind for me is in my area of interest, becoming a successful author. Writers who desire to live that dream, don’t just one day wake up and write the book of their lives. Typically their journey involves a constant grind, albeit a grind of love, in ways like keeping blogs, social networks, and writing drafts until they’ve got something worth presenting. Once they’ve got something that is worthy of a good dice throw into the pool of traditional publishing, or perhaps even in the arena of self-publishing with a great marketing plan, they will then hopefully find the monetary fruit of their rewards. The reason I call it a grind of love is simple, if you don’t naturally enjoy writing, it isn’t something someone decides to do unless they realize that money is a bonus. Having an audience, readers, and becoming better at your craft should be their own rewards to some great level. If this isn’t the case for you then writing isn’t for you, and that’s perfectly fine. Keep looking for what will inspire you to wake up every morning with excitement for life, something that you can be persistently working towards yourself. So in that sense, when you’ve found that passion, your work is its’ own reward. It could get you to a place where you no longer work a day in your life; because the closest you get to working is doing something you enjoy.
Not many can say the same, unfortunately most view work as a means to an end. They grind out their 5 days a week in anticipation for the two days they can enjoy in the peace of their homes and hopefully in the presence of loved ones as they recharge for the next 5 days. This doesn’t sound like a good strategy if one could avoid it. I understand necessity is a reality, and people need to most certainly pay their bills to stay afloat, but if at all possible one in such a position should be in the process of planning their transition to what they love not figuring out extra ways to endure the pain more efficiently. Not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur or a writer. Sometimes those might be the most volatile choices if you’ve got bills to pay and a family to feed, you’ve got to make sure to a high level of certainty that the projects you are working on are already a success monetarily. You can love them as much as you’d like but that won’t make a stack of money appear before you. So invest some down time brainstorming how you could make those areas of interest work. It could take some significant time and may even cut in to some time spent with your family, but as the idea of persistent rewards might imply, planning for the future is what this strategizing is about. When you know that your idea executed properly will give you 5 days a week to do whatever you’d like and 2 days a week where you might have to commit to keeping things structurally managed and maintained. Sounds like a good calculated risk to me if those are the truthful expectations of your dream, so don’t give up on it and discuss such sacrifices in advance with your family to see if they share your vision. If you are still alone and don’t have a family, you may have a significant other to run it by but you’re in a much more advantageous position to execute the attempt with more flexibility. Then you don’t get burned as much by failure. As much as we acknowledge failure as being a good teacher, none of us want to fail if we could help it. So try to make it work and give yourself room to fail. Make sure you have a back-up plan and that you don’t quit your main stream of income or support line because you’ll need that flexibility until you build up enough confidence in your dream that you can submit your 2 weeks notice and move on with your life.
Alternatively speaking some people are very happy with their life situations in their 9-5 and don’t desire the flexibility of being their own boss or working their own hours. While I am not in this camp, I do believe that there is a personality type that embraces that structure. Your hours may be locked in, but you’ve got extra benefits that wouldn’t otherwise be covered and you may be one of the fortunate ones who is working in an atmosphere at their employer that is not only bearable but often times delightful as the projects engage you and your team when applicable. There is also a safety net in knowing that although your company may one day even close its’ doors, more than likely there are multiple competitors in the market you’re in and they’ll be more than happy to take in a worker like you if you’re diligent and proficient at what you do. You’re also likely building up a great retirement if you stick to the same company or governmental position for many years and then you’ll be receiving compensation for your loyalty along with your 401K that you’ve hopefully been padding up for many years. To each his own, with these kinds of benefits in mind though, if you do like this kind of position you will reap rewards of persistence over the long haul. Your family will also enjoy very predictable wages from your part and very little if any volatility in your earnings. If anything over the long-term most of the changes would be upward trending and beneficial news.
Small-scale examples aren’t trivial right? Right
A smaller scale example I came across recently was simply grabbing whatever change in my pocket I had accumulated over the course of the day and throwing it all into a large empty water bucket (like Zephyrhills for instance). Toss that change in there at the end of the day, and before you know it you’ll see it literally grow before your eyes. I decided to “cash out” my bucket and I threw it all on the table to roll up into coins. Surprisingly enough I had about $117 in change in less than a year’s time. I thought it was pretty neat to have built this extra money up and I invested it into my Poker hobby. It is a minor example of a daily task that in the aggregate of several months would provide added value as time went on. I highly recommend doing it. You will realize that when you look at dollars as having significant value instead of just higher denomination bills, it will benefit you in many ways. For instance you’ll enjoy the fruit of this beneficial character trait in your spending and saving habits, you won’t be living paycheck to pay check because you’ll understand the value of managing your money and submitting your finances to God. For me this would involve tithing the first fruit (10%) of my wages, and committing my endeavors to God, or in other words doing what it is I do as far as employment, hobbies, or fun for the glory of God.
A few words about managing money
Whether it be preparing for retirement or just generally being fiscally responsible in life it’s important to have a certain perspective of money and I cannot say everyone has it. In fact I choose not to have it when I play Poker and look at the chips at the table as chips alone. If you think of it as money you’ll play much worse, and make decisions based on playing scared money instead of strategically sound ones. In almost every other aspect of life, outside of maybe high-risk high reward investments, you should have a certain respect for the money at hand. Money is not something you ought to serve, because we serve God. You cannot serve both God and money. (V*1). Don’t be afraid of losing money or rely on it for security, God is our ultimate provision and security. What we need to do is to be good stewards and take all the avenues within our disposal to wisely invest, save, and spend the money we earn. When you invest in God’s kingdom by feeding the poor or spreading the Gospel message you’re not always or even typically seeing the dividends of that in this lifetime but you’re storing up Heavenly treasures. This would be a long-term reward of persistently tithing and supporting Christian radio or worthwhile causes. Some common sense decisions that I would advocate would involve diversification of one’s investments into multiple areas. Make sure you save up an emergency fund and then decide what areas God prompts you to take a look at. Don’t invest heavily into the stock market when you know you’re retiring in 10-20 years, likewise don’t be afraid to make more aggressive moves when you’re still young. You have a larger time horizon to see the volatility of those investments through, whereas someone who is retiring will not be able to endure financially burdensome times. As we saw in the recent events of the 2008 financial crisis, nobody wants to be caught in that kind of storm unprepared. Think ahead, and make sure “all your eggs aren’t in one basket”.
Catching the big picture
The last thing I wanted to mention in this article is I believe the most important. It involves the rewards of persistently involving oneself in the lives of others and loving them. First and foremost we should be appreciative of our opportunity to communicate with God and deepen that channel of communication as often as we can. Dig deeply into the Word of God. Learn what you can from men and women of God who may be able to present Biblical concepts to you that you didn’t understand on your own for example. This is great, but don’t let it mean that you overly rely on them to chew your food, do some of your own Bible study as well. Also recall that there’s no substitute for praying, as Christians this is our lifeline. It’s like breathing, there’s no replacement and it’s how we keep in close touch with God. We know that the foremost commandment is to love God with all our hearts, souls, and strength. (V*2). This is an area that takes persistence and one where we likely never attain anything close to mastery. We’ve all got plenty of room to improve in it and it’s always going to be worth doing so.
Don’t forget about the second commandment, to love others as ourselves. Don’t spend time with people you have trouble loving all the time, that would draw too much energy from you. Spend a lot of time with people who love you for who you are and know you enough to respect your needs. That way you’ll have the strength later on to love those unlovable people who need it the most later on. Don’t be afraid to take some time off or some space to love yourself. We should know that God knows us better than we know ourselves. Pray that He would reveal to you how and when you should take some time to care for yourself. I know in the past, if not still currently, I have a tendency to have an addictive personality that tends to gravitate towards over-achievement. I like to take what I do to the extreme, even hobbies at times, and be the best I can be at that. I need to be sure not to commit time to idolatrous activity no doubt about that, but I also need to rely on God to strengthen me and remind me that I need to step back to take care of my own needs too. We need to be especially vigilant in this era of social media, e-mail, and connectivity. We are hyper-connected but still somewhat socially distant from some of our closest friends. We don’t spend enough time in quality face-to-face scenarios getting to know each other on a real, tangible level. Instead we immerse ourselves in some cases with imaginary friends or people who have little regard for our well being, while others who we’ve already established genuine lines of trust with in person get neglected. Don’t do your family, friends, and acquaintances the disservice of turning them into a Facebook friend when they were there for you in your tough times. We need to ponder this, and also recall being engaged in these areas may be a cause for alarm when we overdo it. As with anything else, they can become addictions, so just be sure that you treat these avenues as the tools that they are and nothing more. I tend to use social media like Twitter to share the Gospel and communicate when new articles or books have been made. I think this spreads the gospel and gives me the opportunity to increase the viewership on FSS. I also believe that building these online platforms will come in handy once I have finally finished writing my own book. This time invested is not wasted, it’s a calculated investment and I am happy doing so. This doesn’t mean I won’t turn my face away from it and tread lighter for a few days or all-together close it off to rest my mind.
I suppose the take-away message is this, there’s no replacement for in person communication and the substitute can be too all encompassing and draw too much of our energy and attentiveness. Don’t go all-in when we should consider moderation. I feel as though I am talking to myself when I say this as well, most certainly I have taken some of these things too far in the past and I could be better about how I approach these tools occasionally.
Seek God first
While we may not always persist perfectly, God’s love never ceases to persist to follow us. Even when we’re behaving like prodigals or fools, He is there and He loves us unconditionally. He wants deeply to have a relationship with you, if you don’t already know Jesus Christ as your Savior take some time to consider it. It is the most important decision you will ever make and your eternity is at stake. For those of us who count ourselves citizens of Heaven by God’s grace through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, earth is the biggest Hell we’ll ever face. For those who ignore God’s instruction and don’t heed his warning through evangelism there is a real Hell, and I personally would not wish it upon my worst enemy. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this or any other article you know our contact form is open and each article is open for individual comments too if you’re interested in opening up a discussion. I am hopeful that at the very least this was a thought provoking article that encouraged you to think outside the box today and recall that long-term rewards are often the ones we should consider most, especially those of eternal scope. God bless!
V*1 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24 (NKJV).
V*2 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV).