Progress is not an accident, but a necessity. – Herbert Spencer
Progress! Like few other civilizations, Americans have charted a course of innovation and progress. This is especially true in industry and the way we implement the sciences. But how about us as a people? What are our measures of progress as individuals? It is a common theme that unless progress is being made we are losing ground because the world around us is moving forward.
The challenge we all face is how to focus our growth in areas that matter. Permit me to suggest a few areas that you might want to consider.
We are spiritual beings. That is what differentiates us from the animal kingdom. We were created with the need to have a relationship with our creator. How are you doing in that area? Treading water? The Bible says that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This means that God is constantly working with you trying to help you grow in every area. Are you letting Him do His work in you and with you? How do you know you are growing?
Growth in Relationships
Very different from the early cultures that were geographically close-knit communities, we work many miles away from home, so we leave home early in the morning to “beat the traffic” and return home after dark. We pull out of our garage in the morning and drive into the garage in the evening. There is no opportunity in this scenario to interact with your neighbors. In my case, my neighbors are ¼ mile away so interaction with them is very intentional. Yet we need those relationships. We need other people in our lives and others need us in their lives. We are all uniquely made and have some gifts to contribute to the lives of those around us. Because we are uniquely made, we need the gifts of others to help us function as we should. How are you in your relationships with others? Do you have or are you building those relationships that will be mutually beneficial for many years to come?
Living beyond yourself
Is your life focused on you and your needs? Or, have you felt the need to help others with more than your money? While there are pockets of poverty, we North Americans are, for the most part, a wealthy people. We have more money than time. So when there is a need we send money and then disconnect, feeling we’ve done our part. While helping with our money is important, there are people who need a human touch. There are people who could use an encouraging word or even just a smile. Help someone make a connection to find a job, or just sit and listen to their story and talk with them about how to overcome some of the challenges they face. Get involved with a community or church initiative to help make the world around you a better place.
How are you progressing in any of these areas? There are other areas of development that we should be pursuing. Those would include skills related to our work and nurturing our families. I hope you’re working on some of these areas. Remember that there are two commandments that cover all the others. The first is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. The second is to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Just food for thought.