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Ditch the Excuses
Burn off the Dross
Leverage; a tool of the Wise
Get rich; but not at all cost
Fortified like a Tower

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Ditch the Excuses

A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly. Proverbs 26:13-16 (NIV)
 
We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse. -Rudyard Kipling. Excuses are the way we explain away our inability to take responsibility. When you take responsibility, you look inward, with excuses, you look outward, you need someone or something to blame for failure.

Burn off the Dross

Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. Proverbs 25:4&5 (NIV)
 
Though precious metals are naturally occurring materials, they come with impurities which tend to obscure their brilliance. In some cases the impurities are so overpowering that it takes a trained eyes to recognise the precious metal.
 
There are various ways of removing dross from silver, ranging from using fire or intense heat to chemicals and other specialist processes.

Leverage; a tool of the Wise

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war,
and victory is won through many advisers. Proverbs 24:3-6 (NIV)

Demonstrating the principle of leverage, Archimedes (287BC-212BC) asserted, “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough and I shall move the earth”. In practical terms, leverage refers to a mechanism that multiplies the outcome or results of one’s efforts without a corresponding increase in the consumption of resources.

Get rich; but not at all cost

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Proverbs 23:4&5 (NIV)

Getting rich takes a lot of hard work; you’re not likely to do it otherwise. This advice above is not absorbing us from hard work. Diligence will always be required in wealth building.

Getting rich for some is like drinking salt water; the more you drink, the more you want to drink. While there’s nothing wrong with ambition, putting yourself on a perpetual treadmill with ever increasing speed is a sure way to break your health.

Fortified like a Tower

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10 (NIV)

There are two sides to fortification; one has to do with the impregnable walls that keep the attackers out. The other side is the provisions for the people inside. A fortress is not built in a day; in the customs of ancient warfare, provisions are built up to last at least a year in case of a siege.

There’s a time for everything under the sun says the Solomon, the wise king of Israel. There’s a time to advance and a time to retreat.

Plough in Season

Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing. Proverbs 20:4 (NIV)

There are four, three or two seasons in a year depending on where in the world you happen to live. The seasons of the year are non-negotiable. You have no autonomy over the seasons; they come and go with accurate sequence.

Sometimes I wish it was possible to choose my seasons, I will probably choose to have 2 summers, springs and autumn. The truth is we can’t chose the seasons or rearrange the sequence.

Laziness; the idle will suffer hunger

Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15 (NKJV)

Lazy, sluggish, slothful all these words describe an unwillingness to do the works or activities expected but with preference for a more pleasurable alternative. A person can be described as lazy though he spends endless hours trawling the internet.  Another person sits in front of the TV for a whole day, this individual probably feels as tired and hungry as the person who’s gone out to work.

I’m sure everyone have met or worked with someone before who could probably be described as lazy.

If it Feels good; beware

For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Proverbs 5:21-23 (NIV)

Our God seats in heaven and considers the earth; nothing is hidden from Him for Hebrews 4:13 says "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”.

Consider the Ants

Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer,Andgathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? Proverbs 6:6-9 (NIV)

In the world of insects, ants are probably the most successful; they are found in nearly all continents. Their relationships in the colony is referred to as eusocial, this is a situation where members of various castes have unique distinguishing abilities which the others have lost entirely.

At what Cost?

Betterisa little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Betterisa dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:16-17(NKJV)

Great treasure doesn’t guaranty happiness just as spending money at a Michelin restaurant might not necessarily guaranty a great time. It’s all about context. While we might desire the pleasures that great treasure is able to provide, our pathway into the treasure determines whether we enjoy it or not.

Jacob deceived his father to obtain a blessing that should have gone to his older brother, the result of his action was he had to leave home in a hurry for the fear of his brother or better still the fear of the repercussions of his actions, twenty years later, he was still afraid of meeting his brother.

First things First

He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summerisa wise son; He who sleeps in harvestisa son who causes shame. Proverbs 10 (NKJV)

Every time I see the word diligence, I think of hard work; however diligence is more than just working hard. Diligence describes hard work as much as it describes right work.

Growing up, for a while I lived with my grandmother in a village in Africa. Sometimes mama sent my cousin and me to get something from the farm.

Find your Homing beam

The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. Proverbs 11(NKJV)

We have two definitions of integrity. One deals with honesty and having strong moral principles, the other deals with the integration of character. Together these say you are not out to cheat, lie or manipulate but it also says you are whole and complete, comely and delight to deal with.

Prudence Protects

“I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. Proverbs 8  (NIV)

In ancient times, temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage were considered most desirable character traits. Temperance relates to discretion, restraint or self-control; in life, there are some things we serve and others we master. It’s usually your choice who or which you serve, leisure, pleasure, ambition, emotions, appetite, money, family etc.

Roast Your Catch

The lazymandoes not roast what he took in hunting, But diligenceisman’s precious possession. Proverbs 12 (NKJV)

Hunting is an ardours task, makes no difference whether it is Warren Buffets hunting the next business to buy or a hunter targeting games in the amazon jungle. It could even be an applicant targeting a job with a company of interest. In every case the hunter seeks to understand the tradition of the game. It’s important to finds out their hangouts and drinking holes. Every game has a playground and sleeping cave.

Power of Influence

He who walks with wisemenwill be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)

“Man is by nature a social animal”, asserts Aristotle, he observed that the society precedes the individual and anyone who cannot lead a common life or is so self-sufficient not to need to is either a beast or a god. In other words we all need to be part of an aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.

In our desired society, the natural tendency is to blend in because we want or need the benefits of the society usually expressed in acceptance, interdependence, cooperation etc.

Who’s in Control

1 Timothy 3 New International Version (NIV)
 
1 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

While all these attributes of an overseer are desirable, for today I just want to pick on one of them; self-control.

Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviour in the face of temptations and impulses.

Be Hospitable, even to Strangers

Hebrews 13 New International Version (NIV)

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Prejudice against strangers is not a new thing in our world; this probably came from the dark ages when a wrong association with a stranger may result in you losing you livelihood or even your life. It’s therefore a common instruction to young ones not to talk to strangers and judging by some horrible stories in the news even in recent times, it’s probably not a superfluous instruction.

You’re Much Stronger, Don’t Conform

1 Peter 1New International Version (NIV)

14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
 
Courage is not a virtue we easily associate with day to day living but as a matter of fact, it takes courage not to live a life of conformity. The opposite of courage is usually thought to be cowardice, however with regards to our daily existence; the opposite of courage is conformity.

Do or Do not, there’s no try

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.Psalm 119:9&10

The only way to get the most out anything and everything is to give it your all. You cannot have amazing success in something by committing half-heartedly. This could be work, profession, relationship, family etc.

For example you may have a list of goals or New Year resolutions; they will always remain a list and nothing more unless you fully commit to the process of making them anything more than that.

The Sword of Goliath

David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place.Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.” 1Sam.21:2 & 3

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.” The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod.