Of Parrots and Eagles, Part Two

Eagle thinkers ask the hard questions, take strategic risks, search hard for the whole truth, and soar high above mediocrity. Parrot people enjoy the predictable, routine, rehearsed words of others. As we discussed yesterday, the church is overrun with parrots and virtually devoid of eagles. Too harsh? You decide.

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It’s about Time, Part One

I’m a sucker for time-management books. Some people can’t say no to a salesman at the door. Others have the hardest time passing up a free puppy . . . or driving by a garage sale without stopping. Still others find it almost impossible to withstand the urge to gamble. Not me. My weakness is books on the investment of my time. Books that tell me how to replace being busy with being effective.

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Prudence

As the great theologian and sage Clint Eastwood once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Children enter the world with no concept of the word can’t. Soon, however, the world begins to teach them that some things are, indeed, beyond their reach. By the time we reach adulthood, several defeats have helped delineate our capabilities.

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A Life of Purpose

Some people seem to drift aimlessly through life, headed in no specific direction. Without clearly defined objectives, it is not surprising that many adopt a lifestyle that lacks definition and purpose. I know a few folks who sort of take life as it comes; no big deal. Reminds me of the time I had been invited to a college campus to speak. On my way to the meeting hall, I met a fellow who was obviously apathetic.

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All Take, No Give

In our study of what the book of Proverbs says about laziness, we have discovered two unpleasant character traits common to sluggards. We have also considered practical ways to address these flaws. Today, we learn how a prototypical lazy person handles relationships. (You have undoubtedly seen these characteristics in others. Maybe you’ve been guilty at times?)

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Submitting As We Serve

He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:35). Those are the words of a powerful king—the richest, most powerful man in the world at the time—and he is describing God’s sovereignty soon after his encounter with humility.

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Divine Perspective

Since our generation so admires human ingenuity and worldly wisdom, we tend to give people praise that only God deserves. A battle is won—and we hang medals on veterans. A degree is earned—and we applaud the graduates. A sum of money is donated—and we engrave contributors’ names on a plaque. An organization stays in the black through hard times—and we grant the CEO a bonus.

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Rewards along the Way

Having thought about procrastination, motivation, diligence, and consequences, Solomon and other wise men wrote the following lines of encouragement: The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes. (10:28) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire realized is a tree of life. (13:12) Desire realized is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil. (13:19)

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Examine Your Heart

Two rival foes contend for control of our hearts: Sluggard and Diligence. Locked in a bitter, all-or-nothing struggle for dominance, each uses its most effective weapons to entice us to join sides against the other. Sluggard craves, but he accomplishes nothing. He doesn’t follow through. He postpones: “Maybe someday.” He tries to convince us that the consequences of inaction are negligible and manageable.

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Bad Intentions

Pro•cras•ti•nate: To put off intentionally and habitually . . . to put off the doing of something that should be done. — Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition. Most of us know the meaning of this word all too well, but a concise definition helps clarify the issue. The procrastinator usually has logical reasons, valid excuses, and plausible explanations for inaction.

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