Initiative – Do You Have It?

March 5, 2017

Initiative – Do You Have It?

Initiative is what common people call “get up and go.” It is an introductory act or step leading to action. The word initiative doesn’t appear in the Bible, but much of what it says gives us reason to believe that it is something God expects us to have. The word “diligence” appears a number of times in the Bible and it has a meaning similar to the word initiative. Proverbs 10:4 says “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” Also Proverbs 12:24 says “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. Again in Proverbs13:4 we read “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”

To be without initiative is to be slothful. That word appears in one of the verses above. Slothfulness means to be lazy. The lazy person just does what he finds enjoyment in doing. Proverbs 12:27 says “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Without initiative we won’t make any accomplishments in life. We will just do what is our obligation to do and stop there. The one who has initiative gets things done. He doesn’t wait for someone else to do it. He takes responsibility.

Children need to be taught to have initiative. We need to have goals in life. There needs to be a desire to achieve. Sometimes we need to suggest goals for children. For example, give a child a sheet of paper and a pencil and ask him to draw a picture of a leaf or a snow man. His drawing may be crude, but praise him anyhow. As a result he may set goals for himself to draw something. Children need to have goals in school. If they don’t get a good education it will be difficult for them to achieve. The result will be that they will have a low self esteem. That will discourage people from having initiative. They will think, “I can’t do it so I may as well not try.”

People with initiative are the makers and shakers in society. They get things done and they encourage others to get things done. They are people we look up to because of their achievements. Every house you see as you drive down the road is there because someone had the initiative to build a house there. Every book you see in a library is there because someone had the initiative to write a book.

People without initiative are a burden to our society. Most of the people on welfare are there because they don’t have the initiative to go out and look for work, or maybe they are looking for a job but can’t find one because they don’t meet the qualifications. They don’t meet the qualifications because they didn’t have the initiative to study and get an education.

It is unfortunate that there are people groups in our society who are lacking in initiative. Sometimes employers are accused of discriminating against them because they don’t give them a job. The problem, however, is that they don’t meet the qualifications for the jobs that are available. Colleges are accused of discriminating against them because they aren’t accepted as students. The problem is that they can’t pass the entrance exams. They don’t have the initiative to study and prepare themselves to contribute something to society. Now they are left in poverty. We are supposed to feel sorry for them, but it is largely their own fault that they are poor.

Don’t expect society to take care of you if you didn’t have the initiative to prepare yourself to have something to offer to the job market. If you don’t have initiative to work the Bible tells us that you have no one to blame but yourself if you are hungry. II Thessalonians 3:10 says, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

It was a mistake on the part of our government when they started the welfare program. It encourages slothfulness because people feel they have a right to what are called “entitlements.” Few people died of starvation before the welfare program was put in place. People worked to meet their needs. If they couldn’t work they were at the mercy of society. It is our duty to care for the handicapped. God has promised to bless the merciful. Matthew 5:7 says “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” In Acts 20:35 we are told to labor to support the weak. “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Do you have initiative? If you don’t, you need it. If you don’t have it, ask God to forgive you and help you to have it. Apply yourself. Don’t wait or expect others to do for you what you should do for yourself. If you are handicapped and can’t work and meet your needs it’s alright to receive help from society. If others are meeting your needs you owe a debt of gratitude to them.


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