Many will go for a box full of dollars faster than they will for a box full of wisdom.
I have recently been exposed to the importance of mentoring. The impact of hearing a man’s story is immeasurable. While principles are like signposts, stories are like maps which when followed with lead us to the destination we desire.
Once when I was discussing leadership with a Russian CEO friend, he gave me an advice I will never forget as long as I live. He said, “Ike, you should not be the leader only in title, you have to be the leader in fact.” I didn’t fully understand what he said, until today.
We were hanging out with some friends when one of the younger guys said he was better than me in a certain game we play amongst ourselves. I was shocked and taken aback. Granted, he had won me a couple times, but I didn’t think he was better than me in the game. I always saw him as a boy [in the game, of course], I thought he saw me as a boss in the game. I was wrong. I tried to tell him that the fact that you win someone a few times doesn’t mean you are better than them, but he wouldn’t listen. He was convinced he was better.
Just to be sure, I again tried to confirm if he was joking and simply wanted me to come play him as I had said I wasn’t playing any game tonight. But he was actually very serious. Seeing he was serious about his stance, I proposed a game which he gladly agreed to, much convinced he was going to win.
First game, I beat him. He said it was almost even, and that we should play again. To cut the long story short, I beat him three times and decided it was enough for the evening.
People are observing you. Your teammates are observing you. Those under you are observing you. They are observing your hardwork, they are observing your dedication. They are trying to see if you are becoming lazy, if they have overtaken you. You better not let your guards down and think all is well. You must face each battle with tenacity and focus, and give it all you’ve got. You must continue to do your best in whatever game or business you engage in, you must continue improving, you must get better at whatever you do. No funny jokes or games. While you are joking and laughing around, someone is getting ready for the day he will tell you, “I am better than you.” and then you will have to prove that you indeed are better. Pray you are not faint-hearted on that day.
As in physical matters so also in spiritual matters.
“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
My soul, take prayers seriously. Take Bible studies seriously, so that you will not end up like Samson who said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him (Judges 16:20).
Lord, help me to be vigilant at all times. Let me be watchful and not be lazy. Help me to do all that I must do at the right time. And dear Lord, when I am too tired to help myself, send help for Your name’s sake. Amen.