The Paper May 2013 – Ready For A Change?
In his book, Thinking for a Change, Dr. John Maxwell, a well known International motivational speaker, says, “The right thought, plus the right people, in the right environment, at the right time, for the right reason, always produces the right result”. Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, summarised the same concept in a different way when he said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”. Whilst Dr Maxwell is looking at ways to consciously impact the environment and help construct a desired result, Shakespeare is suggesting that life is much more a game of chance, and that we need to be ready to seize each opportunity as and when it arises.
The issue many of us have, however, is in knowing what is the “right” result, the “right” thought, the “right” environment and so on. In our society today the assignment of “right” and “wrong” is often made based on a personal assessment rather than through reference to an absolute standard. In Science there are standard units for distance, weight, temperature, heat , time and so on, which are clearly defined. In Mathematics there are accepted processes for manipulation of numbers and formulae. In the written word there are construction techniques considered to be correct. But when it comes to the real issues of life, such as behavioural, emotional and relational issues, in response to real life events, most people think they are on their own. But are they or should they be?
Most religious groups believe that there are standards of behaviour that should be followed. These may vary between Religions and cultures, but there is a recognition of a standard for what is “right”, rather than it being left to the choice of the individual. There are, if you like, a set of Cosmos behavioural patterns which are recognised as “right”. There are some foundation standards that all have in common such as concern and compassion for others.
Christians in particular believe that there is an absolute standard of behaviour which is set out in the Bible – the Guide Book for living. Jesus said, “He that findeth his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life shall find it”. (Matthew 10:39) There are many testimonies from people who have experienced that whilst they were primarily thinking of themselves, their lives were unsatisfying, but once they started thinking of others their lives became meaningful. I had an old Aunty who had a few life-challenges, but whenever she felt down she would always find someone in a worse situation than herself, and do something to help them. Remember the old addage, “I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet”. (Anonymous)
St Paul, writing in the New Testament of the Bible (Hebrews 4:7-11) talks about reviewing our life-situation within our environment, and making decisions to change or renew aspects of our lifestyle so that we can be at peace with where we are and what we are doing. He concludes that there is no better time to do that than “Now”. “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” The Bible message is that we need help from outside to be able to arrive at peace within ourselves - Christians believe that events of some 2,000 years ago have made a way for people in all generations to receive this help. This ties together a continuum of life – an existence prior to us coming into this world, our presence here now, and what happens in the future.
Going back to where we started, how do we achieve the “right result” to which John Maxwell referred? If we want to improve our life understanding we have the right thought, if we mentor our lives on those who have achieved an inward peace we have the right people, if we mix with like minded people we will have the right environment, “now” is the right time, and if the reason is because we want to do what is “right” in an absolute sense, not just from our own assessment, then we have the right reason. If we put all this together we will surely benefit with an improved life-style which is the right result.
We would like to invite you to visit us, or a Church in your local Community, to talk about what might be the “right things” in your life, and if you are thinking for a change, to discuss how you might go about setting the right conditions for that change to occur. See Church Notices in this Paper for times of Meetings at the Christian Israelite Church at 196 Campbell Street – we have been there since 1853 - 160 years.
Rodney Gray – Pastor Christian Israelite Church, 196 Campbell Street, Sydney (www.cichurch.com or visit cichurch.blogspot.com.au)