“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again…Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” ~ Ecclesiastes 11:1,6
I read a biography on Theodore Roosevelt earlier last year and was inspired by the passion that he brought to life. For him, a successful life meant attempting to take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves no matter the outcome.
“It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready,” he said.
He was born sickly, suffering from severe asthma, but taking advantage of the health he did have, he pushed the limits of what his body could take through dedicated exercise, and gradually saw his symptoms abate.
Though born in wealth, he did not sit back on his nest egg and play life safe. He fell in love with the American West, and used his resources to build up a ranching enterprise that initially flourished but then was wiped out by one brutal winter.
Taking advantage of his educational opportunities, he was a prolific reader and writer, penning more than a dozen books on subjects ranging from northeastern birds to American naval history.
Though his rise to the presidency seemed meteoric, it actually came about by him taking full advantage of political opportunities that came his way. He served faithfully for seven years as the Civil Service Commissioner, then Police Commissioner of New York City, then as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and famously as a Colonel of the Rough Riders when the Spanish-American War broke out.
If you’re someone who refuses to do the little thing because it’s not the great thing…
…or if you’re someone who refuses to do the bold thing because it’s not the safe thing…
…or if you’re someone who refuses to do the year-one thing because it’s not the year-five thing…
…or if you’re someone who refuses to do the mundane thing because it’s not the exciting thing…
…or if you’re someone who refuses to do anything because you’re dying the death of a thousand excuses…No time, no money, too much of this, too little of that…
…then you need to take some notes from Mr. Roosevelt.
Or Jesus, who said, “Whoever is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10), and summoned Peter to get out of the boat and plant his foot squarely on storm-tossed water.
Know that God your Maker will give you many opportunities to advance your life in very real and exciting ways. He won’t force himself on you though. He will only open doors and extend invitations. Will you have the courage to embrace those opportunities?
“A successful life meant attempting to take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves no matter the outcome.”
I get this, but I don’t think this is necessarily applicable in all circumstances. Moral obligations trump the opportunities and sometimes the outcome outweighs the opportunity. I think, in short, a person needs to be willing to take risks if the outcome is for the better, of most involved.
My goals are written and out in the open in our home, I started that last year (putting them out in the open). It definitely helps to see them, everyday 🙂 Miss you, uncle!
Good point of clarification Hillary. We’re talking about how to advance our lives in good and godly ways. And good job with having a set of clear goals to shoot for. One of my favorite quotes is: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you fall short, you’ll land among the stars.”