Sometimes in life, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. Of course, what you know is vitally important. But think of it this way: The less you know, the more important who you know becomes.
Think about some examples from biblical history:
•A New World: God wanted Noah and his family to be the ones to populate the new world after the Flood. It meant building an ark, loading the animals, collecting food, floating for 150 days, then establishing a new human order. It wasn’t what Noah knew that was important; it was only important that he “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9).
•A New Nation: When it came time for God to create a people through whom to bring a Savior into the world, He chose Abraham. God told Abraham and his family to leave their home and travel to a land called Canaan where God promised to do something great through him. So Abraham left “not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). It wasn’t what Abraham knew that was important; it was only important that he was “the friend of God” (James 2:23).
•A New Calling: Jesus told Andrew and Peter, James and John, and others to follow Him, that He would make them fishers of men. They didn’t know where Jesus was going, which meant they didn’t know where they were going. But they laid down their vocations and took up His. It wasn’t what the first disciples knew that was important; it was only important that they had “found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote” (John 1:45).
•A New Faith: Paul was confronted by Jesus and commissioned to carry the Name of Christ “before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Paul had been called to a new faith and had more questions than answers. It wasn’t important what Paul didn’t know; it was only important that he had come to “know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10).
In each of these instances, people were given a new vision to consider—and very few details. But more important than what they knew was Who they knew. And the same is true when God gives us a vision for a new venture.
A New Venture
You’ve heard of “the paralysis of analysis” I’m sure. It’s what happens when we get frozen in our tracks because we realize we don’t know the answer to every question we have about the future. But wait—there is someone who knows what we don’t know, and that is God Himself. After all, if we had the answers to all of our questions about the future, we’d have no need of God. Our human limitations serve to make us dependent on Him, to bring us back into an intimate “working relationship” with God our Creator.
Do you have a vision, an idea, or a dream you believe God would bless—something that would serve people and bring honor and glory to God at the same time? There are two dangers in such a case. First, we can think we know too much—being proud about what we know without including the Who in our plans (James 4:13-17). But the second is equally as dangerous: failing to do anything because of what we don’t know and failing to have faith in the One who knows it all.
I have found three things to be important when considering a new venture in life:
1. Prepare: Discover everything I can through reading, prayer, and counsel with others.
2. Compare: If there are gaps in my knowledge, I simply say to the Lord, “I need Your guidance. I don’t know the answers to this set of questions. I don’t know the future, but I know You do. I believe You will guide and provide as I trust You.”
3. Beware: Today’s answer is usually not the whole answer. God’s plans tend to be unveiled over time, as we need to know them, not all at once.
What we know is important, but it’s not as important as Who we know. If you know God through faith in Christ, begin walking into your new venture today.
In 1914 Thomas Edison’s laboratory caught on fire. When he realized how big the blaze was, Edison sent word to his family and friends, “Get down here quick. You may never again see anything like this!”
Edison lost 2 million dollars in equipment and the record of a life’s work. Walking through the rubble with his son Charles, he said, “There’s a great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
How many would be able to respond with gratitude after such loss? Giving thanks to God, Edison started anew. Many great inventions came after his laboratory burned.
How can we reap the benefits of a thankful heart all year long?
When Wayne was just six years old, his father built an ice rink in the family’s backyard in Ontario, Canada. Why? “It was for self-preservation,” his father, Walter, said. “I got sick of taking him to the park and sitting there for hours freezing to death.” All his son wanted to do was play ice hockey. He had been skating and playing hockey since the age of two, and by the time he was six he was competing in youth leagues far above his age group. When he retired from his professional career in 1999 at age thirty-eight, “The Great One” was considered the greatest hockey player ever. Wayne Gretzky knew from the beginning that hockey was his life’s calling.
Celebrated athletes like Wayne Gretzky understand the connection between purpose and passion. The deeper the conviction about purpose in life, the deeper the passion to excel. But I’m not just talking about athletes. Life is filled with people who are passionately committed to fulfilling what they know is God’s purpose for their life.Fast Life! Strong Faith!
In 1982, an Austrian toothpaste salesman on a marketing junket in Southeast Asia was suffering from jet lag in Thailand. There, he discovered that a drink called Krating (“bull”) Daeng (“red”) gave him a fresh shot of energy. He was so impressed with the drink’s effects that, in 1984, he formed a partnership with the drink’s Thai founder to “Westernize” the product in terms of taste preferences. Thus was born Red Bull Energy Drink—the first product in what has become a huge new category. Red Bull was introduced in Austria in 1987, other international markets in 1992, the United States (California) in 1997, and the Middle East in 2000.
Pressing forward through a period of crisis is usually the right approach, but there are times when it can be helpful to look backward as well. Dr. David Jeremiah shares three ways that looking back on your life can help you handle a crisis.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah