However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.
- Acts 20:24 (NIV)
In Western society, we always seem to be in a rush to go to the next level or to get promoted or gain more status, fame, or fortune. Going to the next level is not necessarily a negative as long as we are also growing to the next level of excellence in the process and as part of God’s plan and purpose for our lives and businesses. Don’t just go, but grow to the next level.
We’ve all heard the saying that someone has “arrived” or reached a certain pinnacle of success. But the truth is that we never really ever “arrive.” As Christians, we’re always on a constant dynamic and progressive journey as God completes His sovereign work in us. He is always working in our lives and businesses. We should always be growing in Him and keep growing until our last breath (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). In order for our organizations to grow, we must grow as individuals. As the former chairman of the ServiceMaster Company, C. William Pollard, states in The Soul of the Firm: “If growth is to sustain itself, the people of the firm must also grow.”
“The Station” is a poignant essay by the late Robert J. Hastings. The premise of this provocative piece of work is that as adults we rush through life with this idyllic vision of a final destination or station. The notion is that that on a certain day or at a certain hour, we’ll pull into the station, and once we get there, all of our dreams will come true and all the pieces of our lives will fit together perfectly like a completed jigsaw puzzle. But until then, we continue to rush through life in eager search of our utopian station.
“When we reach the station that will be it!” we cry. The station of “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes-Benz…!” “When I put the last kid through college…” “When I have paid off the mortgage…” “When I get a promotion…” “When I sell the business…” “When I retire…” “…then I shall live happily ever after.” But as Mr. Hastings, so eloquently points out, “sooner or later, we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.”
I share Mr. Hastings’ commentary to make the point that we should not be in a rush to arrive at a particular station in life or at a certain milestone in the commercial arena. Don’t rush God. Enjoy the present and enjoy the journey.
Grow with the Process
As a child, I remember hearing the lyrics of an old spiritual hymn that said, “I’ll believe I’ll run on and see what the end will be.” It’s important to keep growing in life and in business, but you shouldn’t run on without God and try to rush the process. And you certainly can’t see what the end will be by staying stagnate or complacent and refusing to be obedient to God after He has shown you that it is time to exit one season and transition to another.
Don’t try to rush the process. And don’t try to slow it. Grow with the process. And don’t be afraid to grow on to the next milestone in your divine exit plan. Example: It may be time for your business to expand internationally, be sold, increase the number of employees, merge with another company, or just chart a new strategic course.
God’s timing for our commercial growth, like His timing for every aspect of our lives, is always perfect. When growing from one business venture to another, ideally, you should grow into it. The Lord knows exactly when you are ready for a new season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). As you mature and make positive contributions where you are planted in the business world, He will often move you into a new season of professional growth and commercial opportunity.
The Bible tells us: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6, NIV). We are never really done with God’s work. As the title of Nell Mohney’s book implores: “Don’t Put a Period Where God Put a Comma.” So “keep on growing in knowledge and understanding” (Philippians 1:9, NLT). Keep growing personally and professionally, and be open to exiting one season and transitioning into the new, exciting, rich, and rewarding one He has for you. The best is always yet to come. Embrace your new season and grow on!