Initiative, Do You Have It?

May 29, 2021

Initiative, Do You Have It?

By Russell George

Maybe you say, “I’m not sure what it

nitiative is.” Ok, I’ll give you a definition. It is to have motivation to do what we can and should do. When something comes to our mind that we should do, it’s easy to say, “But I don’t want to do it.” If we continually give into the “I don’t want to do it,” we will eventually find ourselves in a precarious situation. We may be left in want or disgrace.

Our big cities are struggling with the problem of what to do with what are called “homeless people”. They sleep in tents on the sidewalks and live on what they can steal or salvage from trash cans. How did they get in that situation? They gave into the “I don’t want to do it.” It’s because they didn’t have initiative. In their childhood and youth, they weren’t obligated to put forth effort to do what they should do. They didn’t study and get an education. They weren’t willing to learn a trade. They don’t have anything to offer to society. They can’t get a job. Now they are a burden to society.

Initiative gives us the motivation to get up and go and do what we can and should do. Many times in life there are things that don’t have to be done, but if we have initiative we will do them anyhow. It’s often easy to find an excuse for not doing what we are obligated to do. I have a friend who, as a boy, lost his right arm when he got it caught in the power take off of a tractor. Throughout his life there must have been many times when he could have said, “I can’t do that with only one hand.” But no. Each time he said, “There’s got to be a way”, and he found a way. He got a good education and for many years he and his wife were missionaries in Argentina. He did a good work there. He learned to drive with just one hand. I have ridden with him when he was driving, and I never felt in danger. He is now retired, but he and his wife are still helping in a Spanish work in Nebraska. Obviously he had, and still has initiative.

My wife and I spent 37 years as missionaries in Argentina. Every morning I got up excited about what I was going to do that day. I might have been sitting at my desk and preparing a sermon outline or a Sunday school lesson. I might have filled my shoulder bag with literature to go out door to door talking to people. I wasn’t paid by the hour. What I did each day made no changes in how much I was paid at the end of each month. No one was looking over my shoulder to see if I was doing anything. I felt motivated to complete my mission, my reason for being there in Argentina. It took initiative to do that.

Having initiative makes us successful in life. It keeps us going and doing what we can and should do. We don’t just work to get; we work because we want to work. If we work by the hour, and have initiative, we will keep on doing our best whether the boss is around or not.

The word initiative isn’t found in the Bible. The Bible word that is most equivalent to it is “diligence.” The following verses from the book of Proverbs help us see how important it is to be diligent. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” (Proverbs 10:4). “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute” (Proverbs 12:24). “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious” (Prov. 12:27). “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Prov. 13:4). “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29). I claim those promises because I want what being diligent will do for me.

Maybe, after reading this article, you can say, “Yes, I have initiative.” But do you have as much of it as you could or should? Nearly all of us could be more diligent. Ask God to show you if there is something more you could and should do.


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