After five years as the teacher, Gary Baker, my friend, recently taught his current Sunday School class for the final time. He used the opportunity to share ten life lessons that stood out in his mind after preparing for over 200 Sunday mornings.
I found the list to be both encouraging and challenging, so I thought I’d share it with you.
1. Fight through storms. (James 1:2-3)
Storms will come, but they are temporary. Prepare for them. One of the most important ways to do that is to develop deep, strong, intimate friendships.
2. Get mentally and physically fit. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Keep your mind and your body in great shape. Read good books and exercise…turn the TV off.
Walk, jog, cycle, lift weights, take classes…There are ample things to choose from. Just get started!
Read 10-15 minutes per day. That equals about a book a month. There are good books on every topic imaginable. Just find one on a topic you’re interested in and start reading. It will make you wiser!
3. Be intentional with your decision making. (Ephesians 5: 15-17)
When it comes to decisions, large and small, ask yourself what I consider the greatest question ever: “What is the wise thing to do?” It helps cut through all the junk and will get you closer to the right answer.
Remember, how you spend your time is a decision. Decide what’s important to you, and make sure you are intentionally focusing on those areas.
4. Say no to debt. (Proverbs 22:7)
I’ve had a lot of debt and I’ve had a little. A little is better! If you need help with this, get Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover. It’s outstanding!
5. Be a percentage giver. (Proverbs 11:25)
Decide to give away a percentage of your income. (I recommend at least 10% of your gross income.) Start small if you have to and work your way up. Also, give to worthy causes that help people.
My wife and I decided to tithe about 18 years ago, and it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We know that we could have more stuff if we gave away less, but the joy from giving is far greater than anything we could purchase.
6. Fill love tanks. (Philippians 2:3-4)
Learn your closest loved ones’ “love languages.” Gary Chapman outlines them in his book, The 5 Love Languages. Here they are:
- Words of affirmation
- Acts of service
- Receiving gifts
- Quality time
- Physical touch
It’s hard to put others first when you don’t understand them. Once you know their love language, it’s much easier to meet their needs. It actually removes the confusion and mystery.
7. Choose your friends wisely. (Proverbs 13:20)
Your friends should help you feel positive and encouraged. They should not leave you feeling negative, discouraged, and angry. Cut some ties if you need to.
8. Serve in your sweet spot. (1 Peter 4: 10)
My sweet spot is coaching kids and teaching. I stopped doing several other things that were outside of my sweet spot so I could spend more time in my sweet spot. To spend more time there, you’ll have to say ‘no’ to some good things.
9. Word Up. (Psalm 119:105)
Get real with your Bible study.
Read your Bible every day. I mean, really read it. Think about it. Study it. Talk about it. Make it a habit.
Here’s my normal routine: Get up. Exercise. Drink a big glass of water. Go to my porch if it’s nice outside or my library if it’s not. Read my Stand Firm devotional, and then read between one and four chapters in the Bible. It’s as routine as brushing my teeth. It feels strange for me to leave the house without reading my Bible first. And, that’s a good thing.
10. Chase love! (Matthew 22: 36-40)
That’s the over-arching message for all of us! How should we live? What’s the best advice anyone could give us? Easy…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.
What do you think about Gary’s list? Are any of these on yours? Is there anything you would add?