Never Easier Than Right Now

Over the years and across the broad plains of conflict and disappointment, I’ve noted a giant disconnect among folks struggling to understand the direct relationship between investment and return. It’s apparently a very complex concept, antagonistic to our natural impulses.

Over the years and across the broad plains of conflict and disappointment, I’ve noted a giant disconnect among folks struggling to understand the direct relationship between investment and return. It’s apparently a very complex concept, antagonistic to our natural impulses.

Lots of folks act like they expect something for nothing.

I recently shared a little vocational advice with a young salesman clueless to the skills of his trade. His take on business reality postured customers as stupid, market principles as archaic, and his general career path as a big mistake. He informed me that he was planning to change career paths and get into something that better suited his unique skill package.

A couple pokes with a sharp stick revealed his failures resulted from a bad case of lazy bones combined with a bad attitude. He wanted a job that wouldn’t interfere with Happy Hour or his golf game. A man of his stature shouldn’t have to work for a living, he informed me. “It just wasn’t fair.”

I offered him sage Christian counsel: “Get over it.” Instead, he moved on.

Relating this story to my son who works in a highly competitive industry that chews up and spit out wanna-be-salespeople, I asked him why so many fail. He told me it’s real simple–most folks expect a sixty-hour commission on a thirty-hour effort.

Have you ever noticed that successful salespeople spend Friday afternoon working? What a concept!

One of the reasons I married my wife was because I wanted a garden like the one her grandparents raised. It was a piece of art.

“Good idea,” she told me our first summer together. “You’re in charge of weeding.”

I enjoyed it– for almost a week. We’ve been buying lettuce and carrots for the last thirty years.

Gardening is a whole lot of work. No wonder farm girls want to marry a preacher and move to the city.

I want my yard to look like my neighbor’s. I’ve clapped my hands above it, stomped my feet on it, and even prayed over it, but to no avail. The stubborn lawn refuses to cooperate.

“Tend me, tend me,” it begs.

“Shut-up and grow,” I respond.

“I need attention, now!” it screams.

“You want to make me use of this Round Up?”

My yard and I fight a lot. It’s such a demanding little piece of turf.

I’m gonna get one of those maintenance free yards someday. That will teach Mother Nature who’s boss.

Better homes and gardens share similar qualities with better homes and relationships. The more care they receive, the better they grow.

I know of no shortcut to great families. Successful marriages result from hard work, discipline, and copious quantities of love.

I’ve discovered that at the root of every struggling relationship is a lack of Spiritual, emotional, and physical investment. What every marriage needs is an infusion of capital. Think of your marriage as a bank account. The more deposits you make, the greater your balance. The more you invest, the greater your return.

Often times couples neglect making regular substantial deposits into their joint account. And then, often times suddenly, after a string of untimely withdrawals, appear shocked that the account is overdrawn. They stare at one another in disbelief: “Where did it all go?”

Then comes the customary accusations and wagging of fingers: “It’s your fault!”

“No, it’s your fault!”

Even though we know better, we still subscribe to a relationship principle akin to voodoo economics. We think we can get something for nothing. We stumble along waiting for the bank to make a mistake in our favor. We think we can suck the account dry, and it will somehow replenish itself. “I can’t be out of money. I still have check blanks!”

We act as if we are playing with Monopoly money.

I grew up in a family where everything was an adventure. It wasn’t highly functional, but it was never dull.

My mother used to accuse my father, and rightfully so, of subjecting the family unit to cruel and unusual punishment. He loved experimenting with fate; how long could a car run on just fumes? He believed it increased the mpg.

My dad relished an alternative perspective, especially if it teased him with the possibility of something for close to nothing.

No matter how many vehicles cluttered our little stump ranch, they had one thing in common – every tank was riding on empty.

Our culture reminds me of our old stump ranch. We have many tanks running on empty.

I often get the feeling people are looking for shortcuts to the good life. They desire functional families, big gardens, a nice yard, fulfilling jobs, and a rewarding faith without working for it. Well, good luck with that.

We may not like it, but we get what we pay for. We can’t get something for nothing.

My primary concern is always a person’s Spiritual health and vitality. I’m in the business of helping others experience peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. I’m selling the benefits of a positive relationship with God. But to the dismay of many and the disappointment of others, God’s product catalog does not offer a single plan that promises great dividends without a substantial investment.

Like lawns and marriages, church experiences vary according to the quality and quantity of personal investment. In other words, you will get from church what you invest.

Folks who love church arrive at that point by investing their hearts and lives in it. As well, I’ve noted that folks who dislike the church deal are those who never invested or quit for some reason.

Faith is incredibly hard work, and thus its diminishing attraction to our fallen culture. Yet, it’s a sincere person’s only viable alternative and one valid path to the illusive good life. And better yet, faith, hope, and love never disappoint.

Christianity offers no false illusions or get-rich-quick-schemes. The call to discipleship remains one of sacrifice and commitment. It ain’t easy. If it was, it would just be another trick. With faith, you invest your life and receive eternal life.

Get reconnected with Jesus and His church today. It will never be easier than right now.