Author's note: I am a compulsive advice-giver-always have been. When my own son was in high school, he wasn't interested in his old man's advice so I wrote it down in the hope that he might change his mind one day. What follows is one piece of that advice. I trust it applies to all of us, regardless of age.
Call on God, but row away from the rocks.
—Hunter S. Thompson
Broadcaster Earl Nightingale told the story of a clergyman who was traveling through a rural countryside when he came upon an extraordinarily productive and scenic farm. There were bounteous crops in neat rows, and all around the freshly painted farmhouse and outbuildings were flower beds and neatly trimmed shrubs.
The clergyman noticed the farmer taking a break from his work, so he took the opportunity to strike up a conversation. “The Lord certainly has blessed you with a beautiful farm,” the minister commented.
“Yessir, he has,” replied the farmer, wiping the sweat from his brow. “And I’m grateful. But you should have seen the place when he had it all to himself.”
Many people just show up to work and do the bare minimum. They complete the tasks that are given to them—and that’s about it. They never take the initiative to improve their workplace or to really serve the people around them.
Others see unexplored possibilities in even the lowliest of duties. They envision a well-tended farm where others see just a job. They throw themselves enthusiastically into every task, and as a result, they make everyone around them better.
You’ve been given a lot. You have a fine mind and at least a basic education. You have judgment and maturity, both of which will increase with time. And you live in a country filled with good people and limitless opportunities. So what do you plan to do with all these blessings?
If you believe in God, you may agree with me that he gives us the tools with which to make our own way and to make the world a better place. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God, but I suspect he has given us all these tools so that we can use them to make reasoned decisions, to take decisive actions, and to work toward the advancement of those worthwhile values and priorities we set for ourselves.
Use those God-given talents. Apply them to your work, and it will sing.