The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

You Get What You Give

I’m sitting here reflecting on one of the team members in our hair salon. This individual has so much God-given talent, but won’t put forth the effort to use it. So I’m aggravated and I need to vent! I try to refrain from speaking in anger (I’m afraid I’ll say something that I can’t take back.), but I’m going to make an exception this time. I’m gonna start typing and we’ll see what happens…..

 

I’m aware of the fact that the majority of the posts made on this site are about faith. I don’t apologize for that fact. I’ve told you before, everything that I do in life points back to God. I AM a Christian. But I’m also a business man. There is a side of me that wants to be successful, that wants MORE, of whatever it is….money, material things, good food, and good times. I want these things, but they aren’t the driving forces in my life; serving God is first, wife Jackie is second, and my personal needs are next.

 

So if I’ve ever presented myself to you as being more than just a regular guy, I want to apologize to you and set the record straight. I’m just like you…..trying to make it in life the best way I can; as long as it’s the right way. 

 

It’s never easy.

 

Okay, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times, in one version or the other, that “nothing good in life comes easy”. You can apply this adage to most every facet of your life….relationships, money, and of course, faith. Though I’m certainly no expert in any area, I want to briefly talk about all three.

 

Relationships

 

This past Wednesday, April 22nd, Jackie and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard through the years that we are the “perfect couple”. I don’t believe in perfection, but I have to tell you, our marriage is rock solid.

 

We work together, side by side, five days a week, and have done so since before we were married. When we’re away from the salon, we’re together 90% of the time. You get the idea, right? We’re “joined at the hip!” And we’re still best friends….this neither a coincidence nor an accident.

 

Funny thing is, when it comes to hobbies, interests, time management, and use of free time, Jackie and I are polar opposites! That’s not to say that we don’t have anything in common. We obviously have a lot in common, the most important thing being that we’re committed to one another, and to our marriage.

 

Thing is, Jackie and I don’t work on our marriage; we work on our relationship. We value each others opinion. We’re grateful for each others strengths, and rely on those strengths in areas that we have weaknesses. We help each other to grow, in terms of being a better person. In fact, we push one another to be better. Lastly, we take neither our relationship nor our marriage for granted. We know that we’re never promised tomorrow.

 

Money

 

I guess I could have titled this section CAREER, but the reason that the majority of us choose a career is to make money, right? Thus the title….and speaking of money, let me say this: I agree that money isn’t everything, but it sure beats the heck out of not having it!

 

Jackie and I will have been in the salon business together for 20 years in October. During that time I have seen quite a few talented people come and go. I’ve been filled with regret to see a few of them leave, and conversely, I’ve been relieved to see others walk out the door. Want to know why? Before I answer that one, here’s another question for you:

 

Which is a greater tragedy? The individual born with no talent at all or the individual that chooses not use a natural gift, or ability?

 

I know that I’m answering a question with a question, but why is it that some people feel that they’re “entitled” to something? A college degree…a title…a cute face…a handsome face…being the son-daughter-friend-acquaintance of someone, are not entitlements. Granted, any of the above may open doors, but they will only take you so far. At some point, you have to be accountable for who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

 

I’ve seen people with average talent become extremely successful. On the other hand, I’ve seen extremely gifted people fall woefully short of their potential. Why? They wanted to be successful, but weren’t willing to make a commitment for that success.

 

Faith

 

I’d like to tell you that practicing my faith has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I’d like to tell you that practicing my faith has been one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. What I am going to tell you is that practicing my faith has been both.

 

Some may define “practicing faith” as going to church on Sunday, offering a blessing before meals, or reading the Bible. All of these are good, because each example brings an awareness of God into one’s life.

 

I used to do all those things (and still do), but what I’m talking about is more than that…..

 

Here’s the challenging aspect: I’m talking about going after God with all that is in you. I’m talking about putting everything else in your consciousness on the back burner and putting God in the forefront of your life, trying to live your life in a manner that would please Him….not merely knowing His commandments, but living them (ALL of them), praying when you don’t feel like it, letting go of the wheel and letting Him lead you….asking Christ to have a relationship with you (knowing that He’s with each day brings a new level of accountability in life).

 

I wasn’t accustomed to doing all of these things, so integrating them into my daily life was a tall order for me; like I said, it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Perhaps the most difficult of all was in believing that changing my walk in life would truly change my life.

 

Here’s the easy part:

 

When I got a taste of having God in my life every day…. when I felt the presence of Christ in my life….when I felt Him come alive in me….when I realized that having Him in my life made my relationship with Jackie better….when I let Him have my career…..

 

I know that I’m rambling, but I’m having a hard time describing exactly what has happened to me….putting Christ in my life gave me a sense of being complete. It is that completeness that drives me to know Him more and more each day.

 

When all is said and done…..

 

I’ve come full circle to repeat what I said at the beginning of this post: nothing good in life comes easy. If you only put 50% of your talent, energy, and effort into whatever it is you are trying to accomplish, how can you possibly expect to get more than 50% in return?

 

If you want that relationship to last, treasure it, nurture it, and never take it for granted. Like so many things in life, if you lose it, you may never get it back.

 

If you have a special gift or talent in a certain field of endeavor, please don’t waste it. There are so many people in the world that would love to have a fraction of the talent that has been given to you.

 

You want to experience the love, comfort, joy, strength, and enlightenment that comes with having a relationship with Christ? Do you think that I’ve got the market cornered on God? I don’t. All of this is waiting for you.

 

Don’t just look to Him. Don’t just walk towards Him. Drop what you are doing and run to Him with all that is in you! He will welcome you with open arms. And I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Linda wrote on 04/28/09 4:43 AM

AMEN!!!
Christina Mansicalco wrote on 04/29/09 9:29 AM

Wow! I read these every week and I feel like I do when I attend mass. I feel like each homily is directed at me. This post is definitely directed at me! I love it, it really got my wheels turning. Thank you for that. I love and miss you and can't wait to see you in 2 weeks. Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
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