Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I had an opportunity today to interact with some business associates who over the years have become great friends of mine, for which I am thankful.  Over the course of the different conversations, they expressed gratitude regarding ways I have helped them in the past or continue to help them, inspire them or motivate them.

I sit here tonight after midnight (as I usually do) the solitude of the early morning providing time for reflection on today's events and I thought of something that crossed my mind as I took the red-eye from the west side of the continent to the east side a couple of nights ago.

As I traveled the 3000 miles to my destination, my mind wandered back through my 42 years of life and I could not help but be overwhelmed by gratitude for what I have experienced.

I have been blessed by incredible friends, business associates, family members and people who were important in my heart.  I have been given the gift of phenomenal professional and personal opportunities.  When I have made mistakes, I have been blessed to be forgiven and when I needed time to correct errors in judgement that I have made, it always seemed that God made sure that I had the time I needed to make things right.  As long as I was taking action, I always seemed to get the support I needed and it always manifested at the moment I needed it, not when I wanted it.

I have been blessed by wonderful children.  While I am not always the model father, through the miracles of Life they are growing up to be wonderful human beings.  They are my legacy, not because of what I do or who I am but because of the gifts that they have been given.

As I sat on the plane the other night, awash in gratitude, I was thinking of the concept of stewardship, the notion of making the most of your time, talent and treasure.

When I looked back over my life, it seems that the times when support and help came to me most occurred at the same time as I increased my stewardship efforts (although I wouldn't have called it stewardship back then).

The more I gave away, the more that came back to me.  The more I accelerated my sharing of time, talent and treasure, the greater the rewards that came into my life (and by rewards, I am not talking about "stuff" as George Carlin describes what we accumulate on earth).  I'm talking about the rewards of knowledge, love, life experiences, laughter, wonderful memories, opportunities to grow as a person, courage, strengthened faith and the other wonderful things we take for granted.

It has been said that we spend far more time worrying about how to spend $24 than how to spend the next 24 hours of our life, while the latter clearly has the potential to have far greater impact on more people.

Our "talent cup" overflows with tremendous talents that exist in unique combinations within each one of us, yet we refuse to acknowledge the abundance and quantity of these talents or their value to others.

We have more treasure collectively (however we define treasure) despite the challenging times before us today, yet more people are in need now than ever.  While we live in a world of abundance, hoarding it produces a feeling of discontent or the need to hoard more, ultimately producing more discontent. 

So many of us are blessed with incredible time, talent and treasure.  Are we really using them for the greater good or are we living for today, blissfully ignoring the fact that for each of us, our end of days will surely come?  If we hoard everything up until the end, we miss out on a tremendous opportunity to have used these gifts we have been given to make a huge difference in the world.

With that comes the last thing I believe we are stewards of and that is relationships - how we interact with the world, how we share our time, talent and treasure and how we leverage our network to increase our contribution potential.  I am blessed with a great network but it is of no value if I choose not to use it to make a difference in the lives of others.  To squander the gift of relationships, whether personal or professional, is as great a sin as to hoard time, talent and treasure and not put them to use on this planet.

The scale of your time, talent and treasure contribution doesn't matter - it's what you do with it that counts.  It's not a contest to see who does the most.

Take a moment and honestly ask yourself this question.  Can I name three or more ways that demonstrate that I am a good steward of time, talent, treasure and relationships? 

If the answer is yes, congratulations.  Please take the time to teach others how to do the same thing.

If the answer is no, think about why this is the case.  When excuses "like I have no time because ...." (insert excuse here - job keeps me busy, family keeps me busy, blah blah blah), look for examples where others faced similar situations to yours and were able to be excellent stewards anyway.

Having given it some thought, make a point of being a better steward of your gifts.  Take a "no prisoners" approach to your stewardship efforts, motivating yourself to share the incredible wealth of gifts that I know you have.

As far as time is concerned:

  1. We start out with a fixed amount of time allotted to us
  2. Once time is used, it cannot be recovered
  3. We don't know how much we have left.

We always hear the phrase "live every day as if it is your last".  Today may actually be your last or mine.

Let that notion put a sense of urgency into your stewardship plans.  That is our obligation as participants in the universe.

In service and servanthood.


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