We are taking a break for the summer until futher notice.

(Wednesday 02/20/08) Woman of Excellence Part 2- Resourcefulness

Part 2 - Resourcefulness
Proverbs 31:10-31
I can just see her now. She is very domesticated (does everything from scratch whether it is something to eat, something to wear, or something to hang on the walls or cover the beds/windows). Anything that can be recycled, is. She is so organized that there is never any wasted time or energy. Her children are homeschooled. She is creative and imaginative. Bargain hunting is a breeze. It seems that everything she touches turns to gold.

Do you know anyone like that? I do, and I feel so inadequate when I am around them. How can we overcome these feelings? How can we develop this remarkable characteristic?

General Definition:
A resource is "something that lies ready for use; can be drawn upon"1. So, someone who is resourceful is "able to deal promptly and effectively with problems, difficulties".

Our society tells us to just let someone else be resourceful for you -- kind of like the "fast food" way. Don't have the money right now, that's fine; just "charge it." Or, we are told that we can solve our problems if we will just put more money into educating society about the problems. Unfortunately, society's solutions don't always measure up with the principles of God's Word.

Key Verses:
(Proverbs 31:13-16,18-19,24,27)

Take a look at the key verses. What are they saying about this resourceful woman?
*She is a thinking individual
*She invests her time
*She looks for dividends and returns
*Instead of focusing on the daily "grind", she looks at the benefits her work will bring
*She is disciplined (takes charge of herself so she can meet her family's needs)
*She is organized (has a sense of planning; takes the challenge of a family as just that, instead of a cross to bear)
*She is dedicated (which is marked by unselfishness and a desire to live for others)

An impossible task? On our own, the answer is probably "yes". But God doesn't leave us on our own. Matthew 6:33 tells us "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well".

One Key Truth:
* Put God First

How do we get it?
The best place to start is to evaluate and reshape our lives into priorities. God says, "I want to be first". He wants to have the most important place in your heart because you are most important to Him. He wants to have an intimate relationship with you personally. In order for that to happen, you have to know Him -- not just know about Him. We must know the Creator before we will ever be able to resourcefully use the things He has created. Anne Ortlund suggests four ways in which to truly make God the number one priority of your life: (1) practice his presence, (2) jealously guard a daily quiet time spent alone with God, (3) seek the Lord in occasional longer hunks of time, and (4) be diligent in your attendance of public worship.

Let's take a quick look at these. First of all, practice His presence. There are many scriptures which tell us that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Check out Hebrews 13:5 or take a fresh look at Psalm 23; you might even want to do a detailed search of your own.) Can we say that literally under NO circumstances will He ever leave us? Or does it mean that He will only stick with us if we are good enough today and do everything that pleases Him? Do we only meet Him at the local church on Sunday, or is He with us every moment of every day? You see, we often think that God really isn't concerned about us personally or have our best interests at heart; He really doesn't walk through this life and guide us step by step; He really isn't sovereign or love us unconditionally. WRONG! Satan would love to deceive us and let us believe these lies. The truth is that God loves us so unconditionally and desires such a special relationship with us that before we even knew or loved Him, He sent His only Son to die and pay the penalty for our sins. (1 John 4:19 & Romans 5:6-8) That is not the world's kind of love -- you know, "love 'em and leave 'em". That is the kind of love that is there for the long-haul! We need to get to the place where we sense His presence with us when we rise up in the morning, when we get ready for the day, when we eat our breakfast, when we travel to work, when we perform our tasks throughout the day, when we eat our dinner, when we relax in the evening, when we get ready for bed, and even when we get into bed. HE IS ALWAYS WITH US!

Next, jealously guard a daily quiet time alone with God. I think most of us would have to confess that our "daily quiet time" is neither daily or quiet. We get up late, or we are too tired, or there are too many other more pressing things that need to be done first. And usually if we do sit down to spend time with God, we are rushed or there are a thousand distractions. Throughout the Gospels, we find Jesus rising early and getting away into the mountains or desert to spend time alone with His Father. Multitudes of people demanded His time and attention; the disciples needed instruction because His days of ministry would be short. But, He always made time for His Father. You may need to be creative here, especially if you have very small children. But if this is a priority, a desire of your heart, then you will find a way to spend time alone with God.

Then, seek the Lord in occasional longer chunks of time. Sunday School, the pastor's messages, tapes, and Christian books are all good ways to learn God's Word. But these should never replace our own study of scripture. We must search God's Word for ourselves; we must allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach and direct us. This may not be something you do every day. Maybe you will only be able to set aside a couple hours one night each week or on the weekend. Ask God to help you make this a priority. There are many good study books available in Christian bookstores -- just to name a couple, I would recommend Cynthia Heald and Kay Arthur. These books will not only teach you how to study the Bible, but they will start you in a structured study environment.

Lastly, be diligent in attendance in public worship. Hebrews 10:25 says "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." There is something special, totally unique about lifting our hands, our hearts and our voices together in praise and prayer to Almighty God. The sense of unity, strength, and encouragement is indescribable. But, one day we will celebrate Him together for all eternity. And that will be glory!

So, we are to make God our first priority. What comes next? Well, that is something that you will need to determine as you spend time with God. What is His plan for your life each day? For me, my second priority is my husband followed by my family and my home. My ministry and work fall in behind that. As we know where our priorities lie and what is important to us, we can better prepare for and utilize resources available to us.

Enemies that rob resourcefulness:
*Procrastination; lack of discipline. No two ways about it -- most of us are not very disciplined. We are soft on ourselves and have a tendency to let things slide until the last minute. The result of this is that we are rushed and do not have the time to adequately research, develop and use resources that may be available to us.
*Disorganization; lack of direction. If we don't know where we are going, it is pretty hard to know when we have arrived. If we don't know where the target is, we will never to able to hit it. If we can't find what we need, it is pretty hard to use it.
*Unrealistic expectations. We have probably all gotten caught on this treadmill before. We set goals so high and make our "to do" lists so long that there is no possible way to accomplish them. The result is that we feel defeated and before long, we give up.

Am I willing to pay the price?
Let's go back to our Proverbs 31 Woman: She was a thinking woman, invested her time wisely, looked for dividends and returns, focused on the benefits her work would bring, disciplined herself so she could meet her family's needs, organized and planned her work, and dedicated herself unselfishly to God and to others. This is not an impossible characteristic to develop.

Ask God to teach you to:
*realize that what He has given you is enough. (Sounds like we are talking about contentment again, doesn't it.) But God has given us everything we need.
*creatively and wisely use what you already have. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-29 teaches that to those who wisely used what they had, more was given. As you take the time to learn, become creative, and wisely use the resources already available to you, God may bless your life with even more.

All that we have been talking about boils down to this: "The source of your resources is never your job. The source of your resources is God." And God is good. When this truth takes root in your heart, then you will see change in your life. As your mind is renewed, your life will conform into the image of Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)

Closing Thought to Ponder:
"When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and hassled, it is a sign that we are running on our own schedules, not on God's. Frustration is not the will of God. Direct your time to do anything and everything that God wants you to do. Direct your time and energy into worry, and you will be deficient in things like singing with grace in your heart, praying with thanksgiving, listening to a child's account of his school day, inviting a lonely person to supper, sitting down to talk unhurriedly with your spouse, writing a note to someone who needs it., etc." Elizabeth Elliot

No comments: