8 Ways to Remain Faithful to Your Calling | Part 2

As I go into my 80th year of ministry, I’ve written the eight principles that have guided me throughout my life. Check out the first four by clicking here. 

5. Be compassionate
1 John 3:18: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (NIV).

Sympathy, pity, concern, condolence, sensitivity, commiseration, all of these fall under the description of empathy. 

What separates true compassion from empathy is action. The Scripture says Jesus looks over Jerusalem with compassion. He didn’t just empathize. He did something about their plight, even to the point of death. 

Compassion gets involved. Compassion motivates us to act. 

It is a deep feeling of empathy that moves us to invest ourselves, to alleviate the suffering, and to do all within our power and the power of the Holy Spirit to make a difference.

6. Be current
1 Chronicles 12:32: “From Issachar, men who understood their times and knew what Israel should do…” (NIV).

Over the years, I discovered how important it is to understand the current trends and to discern how to stay current.

OneHope’s ministry is primarily communicating, as God’s messenger, God’s message to a lost world. It’s so important that we understand the world and the people within it if we are to develop effective communication that will truly engage them with the Gospel.

As the Scripture states, the sons of Issachar understood the times. 

In our fast-moving world, especially in the area of technology and communication, being current is absolutely essential. Understanding current trends and swiftly changing technology is essential. Otherwise, no matter how beautiful your message, it will become irrelevant to the hearer. You will be left far behind, and your best message will fail to reach the audience that needs it so desperately. 

So, be a trendspotter. Adapt early on. Network with people in essential fields.

The bottom line is listen, read, follow…listen, read! 

One of the greatest compliments I receive is when someone says, “Bob is ahead of the game,” and that comes through reading, listening, reading, listening, and staying current.

7. Be Resilient
Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (NIV).

Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover from adversity or challenging situations. It is a vital characteristic of strong leadership. It is not only necessary to cope with stress and overcome obstacles but also to achieve goals.

Resilience can be developed through various factors, but it primarily comes through experience. In skiing, we say, “No pain, no gain.” Overcoming life’s challenges and adversities increase our resilience. 

In the Bible, resilience is also referred to as perseverance, and that is a common theme in Scripture. Other words that apply are endurance, patience, and long-suffering. It’s developed through the process of standing up after being knocked down and getting back into the fray with new determination. 

To be resilient is not only the ability to withstand adversity but to come back stronger after we have fallen. I could write a book on the times I have been knocked down, failed, and yet have seen God turn the situation around. It is said, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” 

Scars remind us where we have been, but they don’t have to dictate where we are going.

8. Be fit
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (NIV). 

People often remark about the amount of energy I have maintained through the years. It goes back to my late teens when I knew that God was calling me to a vigorous life of global ministry. I realized that to fulfill that call, I would need to develop a strong body—a source of energy.

So, I committed myself to several hours each week of vigorous exercise. People often ask, “How can you take the time to run marathons and climb mountains?”

My answer was, “I’m enabled to do what I do through the energy generated during the time I spend on physical fitness.” 

In retrospect, perhaps I overdid it; especially the fifty years I spent skiing the moguls of major mountains around the world so that at this stage of life, my knees are finished. However, even now, I have 120 over 80 average blood pressure and a resting heart rate of 49. So, if I had to choose between strong knees and a weak heart or weak knees and a strong heart, I would certainly take the latter.

I Googled what the Bible has to say about exercise, and would you believe that 34 verses about fitness and exercise showed up? You can Google and get your own list.

Again, I urge you, as early as possible, to build a strong body. I know health enabled me to survive cancer five times and to maintain a level of energy that allows me to travel at age 87.

And since this is the start of my ninth decade, I’ll take the liberty to add one more!

9. Be a visionary
Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: But he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (KJV).

“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have been and am, to some extent, still mentored by Peter Drucker. I count that as one of the great blessings of my life.

Preparing the future for any organization is an awesome responsibility, and that’s especially true when we’re dealing with things that are eternal. Drucker argued that leaders should consider themselves custodians of the future and spend as much time thinking about the future as they think about the present.

There is an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Drucker despised that old saying, and his comment was, “Why would you wait until it breaks to fix it?” Too often, organizations get caught up in the moment, and they fail to look ahead. The future is ignored because people assume that life, like a fairytale, will be “happily ever after.” 

Erroneous planning and decisions made today, when combined with unfavorable economic, political, technical, and market conditions in the future, have a devastating effect on a business and, more importantly, on a ministry. Drucker realized that the seeds for what we see today are sown long before, and future success is entirely dependent on what happens today. Put another way, the future is now; the future is today. 

To help organizations more effectively address immediate problems while creating a launch pad for the future, Drucker developed a new strategic-planning methodology that emphasizes a structured and continuous approach.

This is known as the Drucker abandonment theory. 

Leaders should ask themselves the question, “What has already happened that will create the future, and what actions can we take today that can improve those future outcomes?”

Entrepreneurial, sometimes risky decisions must be made systematically with the greatest knowledge available in regard to their futurity. A good leader is responsible for organizing the efforts needed to move forward with these decisions. 

I’ll leave you off with this: acquaint yourself, at a minimum, with The Essential Drucker. Read it again and again!

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