Monday, February 8, 2010

The Blank Check

The Blank Check
©2000, revised 2010, Chantelle Henderson

The other day as I was doing my Bible Study I was shocked to find a blank check that was signed tucked away in my Bible!!!

I was reading II Chronicles 1 and decided to do a study on Excellence.  Lately I find myself searching for treasures in the Word of God.  Treasures for me that  are yet things to be found and have revelation about.  Even the simplest words, I want to know so that I may learn and begin to “walk out” in my daily living.

Excellence is described in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as:

The quality of being excellent; an excellent or valuable quality.

Those who are walking in their destiny did not get there by doing things half way.  I guarantee you that they had to adopt a spirit and attitude of excellence.  Let’s look at the example of King Solomon in I Kings 10:1-9 (Amplified): “When the queen of Sheba heard of [the constant connection of] the fame of Solomon with the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions (problems and riddles).  She came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels bearing spices, very much gold, and precious stones.  When she had come to Solomon, she communed with him about all that was in her mind.  Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he failed to explain to her.  When the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom and skill, the house he had build, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, the standing at attention of his servants, their apparel, his cupbearers, his ascent by which he went up to the house of the Lord [or the burn offerings he sacrificed], she was breathless and overcome.  She said to the king, It was a true report I heard in my own land of your acts and sayings and wisdom.  I did not believe it until I came and my eyes had seen.  Behold, the half was not told me.  You have added wisdom and goodness exceeding the fame I heard.  Happy are your men!  Happy are these your servants who stand continually before you, hearing your wisdom!  Blessed be the Lord your God, Who delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel!  Because the Lord loved Israel forever, He made you king to execute justice and righteousness.”

There is so much to glean from this one passage of scripture.  Let’s look at one more scripture before discussing it.  We’re going to look at King Solomon’s attitude.  II Chronicles 1:7-12 (Amplified):  “That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, Ask what I shall give you.  And Solomon said to God, You have shown great mercy and lovingkindness to David my father and have made me king in his place.  Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be fulfilled for you have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.  Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this Your people who are so great?  God replied to Solomon, Because this was in your heart and you have not asked for riches, possessions, honor, and glory, or the life of your foes, or even for long life, but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may rule and judge My people over who I have made you king.  Wisdom and knowledge are granted you.  And I will give you riches, possessions, honor, and glory, such as none of the kings had before you, and none after you shall have their equal.”

WOW!  Those two passages say a lot about the attitude and the behavior of excellence.  Let’s look at a few things.

1.     Solomon’s reputation was known.  You build a reputation for yourself  - good or bad.  It’s one of your most valuable assets.

2.     Solomon was knowledgeable.  So much so, that the Queen’s riddles and questions were all answered beyond her doubting.

3.     Appearances do matter!  She saw, not only the material, but the relationships between him and his servants.  His servants were happy.  That leads me to believe that he knew how to handle his responsibility of being in authority.

How did Solomon get to where he was?  In II Chronicles, God gave Solomon a “blank check”.  He could have asked for anything.  He asked God for wisdom and knowledge to rule the people.  It was in his heart.  If God gave you a blank check, what would you ask for?

How do you become excellent?  I submit to you, that first it must be a desire of your heart—something in you that wants to be in a state or quality of excelling (Webster’s Dictionary).  It’s as much an attitude as it is behavior. 

You don’t become excellent overnight.  You obtain excellence by doing the same exact thing over and over again.  You are mastering it and perfecting it—whatever your “it” is.  Let me share a personal example.

I swore in high school that once I got out of my one typing class required for me to graduate from high school, I would never touch another typewriter.  It was boring and not very important to me at the time.  When I found myself unwed and a single parent at the age of 21, I had to get a job and had NO skills at all.  I enrolled in a technical college that required me to take 3 typing classes – beginning, intermediate, and advanced!  I could not believe it.  On more than one occasion I almost quit school because of typing.  But because of determination I didn’t quit.  Day after day, drill after drill, tap after tap, I went from 5 words per minute, to 10, to 20, and so on.  Keep in mind that if we were caught looking at the keys, we failed that typing test.  I decided that I was going to become excellent in the very thing I despised.  I had to master it.  I went out, bought a typewriter, asked my teacher for extra test, and practiced day after day – outside of class.  Well, by the time graduation came around, not only was I typing 80 words per minute (without looking), but I received several awards, including some for breaking school records.  Even though it seems like a small, non-important thing, when I got out in the job market, it meant higher pay.  Because I was determined and took the time and had the patience, I developed excellence in the one thing I never thought I would be able to do.  This one thing has carried over into other areas of my life.  When I start to give up or quit, I reflect on this time in my life as a lesson.  It wasn’t easy.  There were times I wanted to give up.  But I had a greater cause before me (a life for me and my son) that made it all worth it.

Whatever your destiny, becoming excellent will require commitment.

1.    Commitment of time.  You will have to be a good manager of your time.

2.    It will require you doing it even when you don’t feel like it.

I also want to take this opportunity to encourage those of you that don’t feel like financially, you are in a position to “become excellent”.  Although eventually, you will have to make a financial investment of some sort, adopting an attitude of excellence is free.  During the same time I was in school, I was on every government assistance program available—food stamps, welfare, peach program—you name it, I had it.  But just because I was dependent on the government, didn’t mean I had to have a “welfare” mentality.  The first thing I did was purpose in my heart that I would only be on it for one year.  I was off in 9 months.  Although I couldn’t afford suits from Macy’s and Rich’s I went to the thrift stores and got them for pennies on the dollar.  I couldn’t afford real jewelry, so I got the best in costume jewelry Wal-Mart and K-Mart had to offer.  I knew that if I was going to get the type of job with a large corporation I wanted, the mini skirts, stiletto heels, heavy eyeshadow, and bad attitude had to go.  I had to start looking the part.  I surrounded myself with women who were in the types of jobs I wanted and learned how to conduct myself professionally.  I depended on God to refine those areas in my life that were rough.  We’ll talk more about this later.  If you are on government programs, feel limited financially, have thought to yourself that you could never be excellent because of your circumstances, I want to encourage you to begin with purposing in your heart that you want to be excellent at whatever you believe you are called to do and be in this life and start mapping out a plan that will take you in that  direction.  Lou-Tzu was a Chinese Philosopher who is quoted as saying something you can carry with you throughout your life that is applicable to ALL areas, and that is "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

End thought:  
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go.  They merely determine where you start.”
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