In my book, Every Day a Friday, I talk about simple, practical changes that you can make in your day-to-day living so that you can set yourself up to really enjoy every single day the way God intends. One of the principles I talk about is “Traveling Light.” In this life, so many people are carrying such a heavy load that it’s robbing them of true peace and joy.
One “load” people often carry is the load of everybody else’s business. Not only are they carrying things that affect them, they are carrying things that affect other people as well. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard enough time trying to run my own life without trying to run anybody else’s life. One of the best ways I can keep my load light is to simply mind my own business. If a neighbor takes four vacations a year, it’s none of my business. If a friend wears a ring on every finger and two on every toe, it’s none of my business. We can’t enjoy life if we are running around being nosey. Nosey people are critical people. They want to know all the details and the latest scoop. They’ll show up at work and say, “Did you hear what I heard? Did you hear what they said?” Your answer should be, “No, and I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to be poisoned with gossip. My ears are not trash cans to fill with garbage!” Don’t sit there and be passive. If you have to, get up and leave! Be bold and don’t let people poison you. If your friends are critics, faultfinders and busybodies, find some new friends. Don’t let that critical spirit poison you.
Today, instead of getting into everybody else’s business, get into God’s business! He’s in the business of loving people. He’s in the business of restoring people. He’s in the business of encouraging and healing people. When you get into God’s business, He’ll get into yours! What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. Remember, with every word and every action, you are sowing seeds. Sow good seeds of love, support and encouragement. Travel light so you can receive the harvest of blessing God has in store for your future!
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19, NIV).
All of us, at times, will have people who leave our lives for one reason or another. Beyond your family and the commitment of marriage, there are some relationships that are meant for just a season. It may be something you weren’t expecting. You may not understand it. But if you’ve done your part to walk in love and forgiveness, if you know in your heart you’ve done your best and the person walks away, that’s when you have to trust that God knows who needs to be in your life.
One time, I heard somebody talk about the gift of goodbye. It means when somebody chooses to leave, you may not realize it right away, but they just did you a huge favor. Maybe that person was holding you back. Maybe they were keeping you from spreading your wings. Maybe they weren’t a good influence. When somebody leaves your life, a business partner, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker; don’t take it personally. Don’t get upset. Don’t try to talk them into staying. Let God do a new thing in your life. Your destiny is not tied to the people who walk away from you. You may think, “Man, I need them, Joel. They’re a great friend; I count on them. He’s a great business partner.” No, God knows who you need in your life to fulfill your purpose. If He has decided that the season is over, there’s nothing you can do to hold it together. You might as well just let it go and get ready for something new that God wants to do.
Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10, “If anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet and move on.” That’s what I’m encouraging you to do today. Don’t try to force a relationship that has ended. Shake the dust off your feet and move on. You don’t need the approval of everyone on this planet; you only need God’s approval. You don’t have to defend yourself because God is your defender.
Today, instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Focus on the relationships that are in your life. Invest in the people around you. Look for ways to sow love and encouragement. Thank God that He is opening doors for you. Thank Him for the right connections in your life. And thank Him for the gift of goodbye because He is ordering your steps and aligning you to walk in the place of blessing He has prepared for you!
In Luke 10, it talks about Jesus going to the house of two sisters. Both acted very differently when He arrived. Mary chose to just sit at His feet and soak in every word He was saying. Martha chose to serve Jesus, working tirelessly to make preparations for Him. She wanted everything to be perfect. Martha began to get frustrated because she was doing all the work and her sister, Mary, was just sitting there. She said, “Jesus, could You tell Mary to get up and come help me? I mean there’s so much that needs to be done here, and I’m the one doing all the work.”
Now, how often do we approach Jesus with the same attitude as Martha? “Jesus, do You see how hard I’m working? Do You see how overwhelmed I am? Can You get someone to help me? Do You notice how much I’m doing for You?” I think Jesus would respond to us today in the same way He responded to Martha. He said, “Martha, you are worried about a lot of things, but only one thing is needed and Mary has chosen the good thing.” See, Mary chose to take time to be in Jesus’ presence. She set everything else aside to learn from Him and receive His grace and mercy.
When we make time to sit in the sweet presence of Jesus, we are choosing the one thing that is needed. That’s because in His presence, we will find strength, wisdom and joy for this journey of life. When we put Him first on our priority list, everything else will fall into place.
Today, if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or overburdened by the cares of this world, remember, only one thing is needed. If you are looking for direction or wisdom to make better decisions, only one thing is needed. If you are facing challenges at work, in your finances or relationships, only one thing is needed. No matter what is coming against you, no matter how much you think you have to do, make time for the Timeless One. Come into His presence because He wants to refresh you, rejuvenate you and lead you in His perfect peace and victory today!
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33, NKJ).
You may not always see it, but God has equipped you with everything you need to accomplish your dreams and fulfill your purpose in this life. Sometimes He gives what you need in seed form. When you step out and plant that seed, when you use what you have, you are setting yourself up to tap into so much more.
Scripture says, “To those who have, more will be given.” That means when you use what you’ve been given, when you make the most of what you have in your hand, you will tap into more gifts, talents and opportunities.
In Matthew 25, Jesus told a story about a wealthy man who entrusted some of his money, called talents in Bible days, to three of his employees. He instructed them to invest the talents and make the most of what he had given them while he was away on a business trip. Upon his return, he found that two of the men invested their talents wisely and doubled what they had. However, one man said, “I buried my talent because I was afraid.” This man was full of excuses, trying to explain why he didn’t do anything constructive with the money he was given. Perhaps the man thought he didn’t have any good contacts, or maybe he was busy taking care of other issues. Regardless of the reason, the wealthy man asked, “Couldn’t you have at least put my money into a savings account so it could draw interest?” The employer was so frustrated that he took back what he had given to that man and gave it to the first man who had been so faithful. It’s interesting that all the men had the same opportunity, but the third man, who was full of excuses, didn’t take advantage of it.
In the same way, God has also entrusted every person with a measure of gifts, talents, abilities and resources. He’s watching to see what we will do with them. If you are faithful with what He has given you, He will multiply you and increase you. You’ll tap into more than you ever dreamed. Remember in God’s system, it’s not about how much you have; it’s about using what you have. God is faithful, and He is looking for people to be faithful with what He has entrusted to them.
Today, look for ways to use what God has placed in your hands. Don’t bury your talents. Believe in yourself, and believe that God is working on your behalf. Use what He has given you, and trust that He will bring increase. It may not happen right away, but if you will stay in faith and make the most of what you have, it won’t be long until you will see His hand of blessing and increase upon every area of your life!