By: Staci Stallings
One of my all-time favorite preachers is Dr. Lee A. Simpson. If you’re not from Texas maybe he will take some getting used to because of the accent, but wow! Is he phenomenal.
I’ve started putting his CD’s in my van to listen to on the way to pick up children from school and after dropping them off. I also need to put a pen and paper in there because I’m constantly going, “Where’s something to write that down!” Which of course is not terribly safe at times.
The series I’m listening to now is about Maximizing your life–living up to God’s best for you, and Dr. Simpson gives three very important, very simple steps to maximizing your life.
I so love this because he is so wise about how real change happens. First, it doesn’t happen overnight. Even those people you see who become an “overnight success” really weren’t. How many hours did they spend by themselves practicing their gift? Yes, they had a gift, but without the will to practice, that gift would have been wasted.
But here’s the thing. Too many people want what that “star” has without being willing to do the work. They cry out to God to improve their circumstances but make no effort to do so in concert with God. It’s like they want the miracle of the loaves and fish, but they’re still sitting at home going, “Well, I heard that Jesus guy is coming into town, but there’s going to be so many people there, and Josephine might call, and I really need to feed the goats, and if someone doesn’t get to this laundry soon…”
We make excuses, and we miss the miracle.
Dr. Simpson says to maximize your life, you must do three things:
1) Start where you are.
2) Use what you have.
3) Maximize your state.
Because I believe all three are critical, we’re going to spend a little time with each over our next three visits together. Today we start with Starting Where You are.
How many times have you said, “I know I should be giving to the church, but once I have more money, then I’ll give”? Be honest. Have you ever said that?
If you have and you’re honest now, you know it’s a lie. If you had 20% more money every month, you would spend at least 20% more, and still not give.
If you don’t give now, you won’t give then. Why? Because what you do now shows the kind of person you would be if you got over there.
It’s not a matter of money. It’s a matter of heart.
Who you are = What you do
It’s that simple. So if you want financial success, you have to start where you are with the finances that you have. If you’re struggling to pay bills every month, cut back on your spending. Whatever that means. Big or small. Spend less than you take in. And here’s a good way to start that process… Take 5% of what you earn and give it away.
I know the church says 10, but start where you are. And where you are right now is that you believe you can’t give ANYTHING away. When you’re convinced that you can give some away, then give a little more and a little more.
But this isn’t just about church-giving. It’s about self-giving.
If you want to be a better father or mother, look at how much time you spend with your kids. Start where you are. Be honest about that. And then increase it.
The first step of Start Where You Are is to admit where you are. I think a lot of us go through life purposely putting on blinders to what’s going on in our lives because we don’t want to face it. So look at where you are, and admit the places that you’re struggling.
Maybe the struggle is in your marriage. Start where you are, and do something to move in the direction you want to go. Give your spouse a hug or a kiss. Do the dishes without being asked or nagged. Pick up that tool he needs or take out the trash. Start where you are, wherever that is, and move in the direction you want to go.
Next time we’ll talk about Using what you have.
Until then, have a blessed day!