Be On Your Guard

By definition, greed is the intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power or food. When you Google the word “greed”, you will find 429 million results. Say what you want about Wikipedia, I love their definition – “Greed is an inordinate or insatiable longing for unneeded excess… greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs.” The phrase “more than one needs” really struck me on this subject. It makes me think about living a life of contentment. Our son has often talked about being a minimalist – he really doesn’t want a lot of things for his house. I’d say that he is content with what he has. As the wealth gap in the United States continues to grow, I know that it is hard not to want a little more than we have at this moment.

By definition, a minimalist is someone who’s lifestyle is centered on less. When you Google the “minimalist”, you will find 512 million results. I was immediately overjoyed by that number but as I researched a little father, I found that minimalism is also a form of Art or an Art Movement. So much for an advanced degree! In any case, my point is that contentment should always outweigh greed and minimalism should be greater than excess. There is no “one answer fits all” solution to this subject. Each of us are faced with circumstances that drive our ability to be content. Someone with no food is content with what someone might leave behind. I’m simply suggesting that you examine your own situation and determine “what is enough”. The opposite of selfish is selfless and we could use a little more of that these days.

“Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.’ ” Luke 12:15

Jesus is reminding us that greed is not just about money. Think about the things that people want more of – better event tickets, a bigger TV, a better car, a bigger house, newer furniture, etc. It is very hard today to avoid being “greedy” about something. Times were different during Jesus’ ministry on Earth and people had very little and wanted more, so one could argue that greed was greater “back then”. Today, we have more, and greed is just as great today, we just want more of the things that we do have. When we start to focus on gaining more, we stop focusing on the things that are important, like our relationship with God. 

This world is being overtaken by greed and care only for oneself and we seem to be losing sight of our ability to demonstrate God’s love to each other. When we start focusing on ourselves, we stop caring for others. We stop living our lives as Jesus taught us to and we start to please the devil as we turn away from God’s teachings. “Watch out!” was Jesus’ warning to us. He didn’t sugarcoat it. If we aren’t careful, we will fall away. Start sharing your abundance of blessings for others (spiritually and otherwise) and who knows, maybe the world will become a better place.

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I’ve Got This Plan…

I have to smile every time that I think I’m in control of my own life. Just when I start to worry about when my next work project will come in, it does. When I think that I’ve got my latest life strategy planned out, a situation arises that changes it. I believe that God has guided my life all along but I failed to see it until my career ended suddenly. When I started looking back over my life and began writing my yet unfinished book, I could see the patterns emerge. I’ve been “retired” from my dream of being in the fire service for just over 6 years and I never could have imagined the journey I’ve been on. I certainly did not plan any of it and every time I try to plan or worry about a plan, God reminds me that He is charting the course.

My experiences in these past six years have been unimaginable. I’ve met incredible people from all walks of life. As a Councilmember, I’ve been invited to be part of a special group that meets monthly to discuss development, investing and economic conditions in the metropolitan Phoenix area. This group really influences what happens in our region; the connections are amazing. I had a conversation with a few people looking to connect an outside property owner who “only needed $5 million” with an investor; it was unreal. I continue to work with the US Army on Homeland Defense initiatives and have become friends with very special people. We will fly to Texas in a couple of months to celebrate one of my “new” friend’s retirement. Not to mention the conversations that I’ve had with General Officers and their staffs. I never planned any of this. My work as a local government consultant continues to take me across the country and into the lives of people who want to do the best they can for their residents. All of these things came to be because I stopped worrying about being in control of my plan and let God show me the way.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States and that got me thinking about what I’m thankful for. More importantly, it also reaffirmed how I got to where I am. A friend (Andy) who I only work with a few weeks of the year on military assignments sent me a text message that he was thankful for our friendship and being able to work together. I never would have met Andy if I was in control of the planning in my life. We all desire to know what lies ahead and to influence those circumstances. Completely letting go is hard. We are human and being in control is one of the things that separates us from the animal kingdom.

We can still make our plans, have our dreams and establish targets for achievements; this is the freewill that God gave to us. The verse for this week reminds us that God will establish the steps of getting there. I am planning for a long life that ends with my being thankful for a great family and a satisfying life. The truth is that if my life ended today because it was in God’s plan, my life would end with my plan being fulfilled. Sure, it may not have been very long but I achieve what I hoped I would. I am thankful for that and mindful that it is also human nature to never be satisfied with our lives. God knows just what we need and will direct your steps if you let Him.

Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful and thankful to everyone for your encouragement and support. Since my injury, I have tried to make it a tradition to reach out to people who have come into my life or helped me in some way and say thank you. I am so blessed by everyone in my life that I’d spend all year making calls. So, I found this today and thought of everyone who follows this blog, all my friends, my colleagues, and my family – you are very special to me, thanks.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 
~Melody Beattie

Found in the book “Attitude is Everything”