North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

A man recently ran into the woman who used to clean his house and was surprised to hear she was still at it despite her advanced age. “How do you manage it?” he asked. She explained her secret: “I just keep clients who can’t see the dirt any better than I can.” You might say she had a strategy for her game and it was working!

Life has been described as “a game”. Life is a game they say. In my experience with games, I’ve discovered it pays to have a plan or a strategy to be successful. You need to have a strategy for each new day. Does it really matter how you live your life as long as you don’t bother anyone? I can assure you, in the long run, it does matter. Some people take on different life strategies. There’s an old adage you may have heard: “It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s the finish that counts.” Certainly, the finish of anything is of extreme importance. Stop short of the end and all that you accomplish, achieve, or complete, up to that point, is never quite fulfilling. You can be sure there is some satisfaction of having made some progress. However, there is a fulfilled purpose having crossed the finish line and to have made it to the end. Remember the words of the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race (work). I have kept the faith” (II Tim. 4:7).

Getting off to a good start is important. It breeds confidence within you. You are more willing to take on the challenge or even take a risk on a potentially great gain. That all-important start can affect your finish. But if you didn’t have a good start in life, you can make adjustments and still finish well.

I recall my final track meet for Florida State. We were competing in the conference championships at the University of South Carolina. It was FSU’s final year in the Metro Conference. It was by far my biggest race at that point in my running career. I needed a strategy that was realistic, clever, and certainly one I could believe in. One of my best friends and fellow teammates came up to me and asked, “What do you think Dobson?” I replied, “Not sure yet, but I need to settle on something. “ I had been contemplating my options. Finally, he said, “I’ve got it. Start out fast, pick it up in the middle, and bring home the win!” “Sounds risky”, I replied. “You can do it, your training has been good and you’re prepared.” I liked his positive outlook. As I approached the starting line, I had a plan. I think it could have worked, but unfortunately, our rivals from Virginia Tech, intentionally slowed the pace down by using some techniques known as “boxing in” and “pack running”. I settled into stride for a few miles. Then I could hear my Head Coach Terry Long, in the track infield yelling, “Be a man Matt, be a man!” I took the lead at mile four of the 10,000 Meter race and never looked back. The point to that story is that it’s important to have a strategy, but it’s equally important to be prepared for changes that might occur. Someone or something will inevitably try to bring you down, throw you off, or try to take you out. Be prepared as much as you can. In Mark 1:35-38, we see how Jesus prepared himself for his tasks and services to others; he prayed. Prayer was a major emphasis of his life here on earth. Particularly mentioned is his routine of early morning prayer.

Prayer is the best strategy to start anything. “Genuine” prayer, not just the” 9-1-1 emergency” kind, can give you a good start for the day. It will make you feel more confident in facing whatever comes. It becomes your inside preparation. Like shaving, showering, and getting dressed is how you get ready on the outside; leave undone any of the external preparations and it immediately shows. If you neglect to prepare the “inner man” or “inner woman” that too will show in your attitude, body language, thought patterns, and how you treat others. Even if it didn’t show outwardly, you would know something was missing. Prayer is a stabilizing factor for your life and it’s always a good strategy to include it. In fact, you should never leave it out. There is a peace and serenity that comes from close fellowship with God.

Starting out with prayer you don’t have to be hesitant about sending up a 9-1-1 prayer during the day because you have already established the connection in the morning. And believe it or not, you seem to experience less crisis and make fewer mistakes during the day when you meet with God in the morning compared to the day you have “no-prayer” start (Prov. 3:5-6). Without God’s inclusion, approval, and help you are doomed to a sub-par life—never reaching the maximum of your potential. Be sure your ambitions, your undertakings, your plans are all in accordance with the best that God wants. And when you are sure—Go For It!

Hebrews 11:6 says, “…anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” God will reward your faith when you put to work your strategy that includes Him. He has promised to reward you when you finish your races in life. Particularly, the final race at the end of your life; be sure you have included God and enjoy the benefits He offers in a positive strategy for life. See you in church on Sunday! And follow God in all of your ways.

  •       This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at
Posted by on Apr 14 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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