November 17, 2017

Why You Need a Heart of Wisdom

Most days I wake up with an overwhelming feeling of urgency. I’m sure you feel it too! We all do. Urgency presses against us begging us to choose well. School is in session, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

A friend left me a voice mail 722 days ago. I’ve kept it. I didn’t forget to erase it. It connects us. I draw encouragement from it and it reminds me to number my days and the power in a heart of wisdom. What did he teach me?

Teach us to number our days?

Urgency is a response to the knowing we are running out of time. You can expect to live about 29,200 days. On average that means I have 7,850 days left. Wow!

Numbering our days is not simply trying to count how many days we have left. It is a reminder of the fragile nature of life. You and I have a great purpose we have been created to fulfill and our clocks are ticking.

By numbering our days; it gives each day the perspective of an unrepeatable gift. A gift full of opportunities and experiences that is unique to today.

What is a heart of wisdom?

Brevity is a good word! Life is brief—we only have so much time on this earth. This sense of brevity gives rise to urgency. It presses upon us to ask ourselves how we are going to spend our time.

It’s not enough to think about and build plans around what we can do or want to do. Our desire and prayer for a heart of wisdom guides us to think rightly about how to spend our time.

A heart of wisdom shines a light on the path of meaningful purpose. We are all wise enough to know that when we finish a race we desire above all things to hear, “Well done!” We want what we do to have meant something.

The path to a heart of wisdom.

Every day I answer this question, “What am I thankful for?” It’s one of five questions I journal about on a daily basis. The five minutes I spend answering these questions are five of the most important minutes of my day.

Wisdom or thankfulness—which do you think comes first? What I’ve found is that thankfulness leads to wisdom. Thinking about what you are thankful for opens your eyes and heart to what brings true joy and meaning to our lives

Wisdom gives meaning to seemingly insignificant voice mails.

Ah, the voice mail. The first time I listened to the voice mail, I was disappointed that Leroy and I had not spoken live.

Leroy and I worked together for many years. He is one of my favorite U.S.C. Trojans. There are many words I could use to describe Leroy—husband, father, leader, friend, coach, compassionate, hopeful, honest and loyal are just a few.

One of the worst days of my career was the day Leroy suffered a stroke in our offices. The response of his team saved his life. Leroy made a miraculous recovery, but never returned to work. He did, however, return to his highest and most important callings as a husband, father and friend.

I was heartbroken last week to learn Leroy was moved to hospice care. I have listened to his voice mail a number of times this week. “Jim, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family too! I have a lot to be thankful for. One of the things I’m really thankful for is your prayers and I’m glad that you still pray for me because prayers really do work—I'm a shining example of that. Thank you very much...”

Fight On!

Leroy continues to fight on—to race with purpose. I continue to pray for him. He is in good hands!

Brevity—teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Wisdom suggests to me that you can never be reminded often enough that no one has your unique place or time in history to positively impact, influence and contribute to the people you love, teams you lead and causes that stir your heart.

What are you thankful for?

Who needs your prayers?

Fight on—finish strong!

Reading to Help You Number Your Days and Gain a Heart of Wisdom

20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now by Robert D. Smith

Holy Ambition: Turning God-Shaped Dreams Into Reality by Chip Ingram

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2 comments on “Why You Need a Heart of Wisdom”

  1. I had the privilege to work with Jim for over three years. There is no finer leader I have ever met. He is a true Gentleman. May God continue to bless you and your passion to inspire everyone who has the opportunity to hear you teach.

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