Monday, May 31, 2010

Perseverance or Patience in Business?

One of my favorite books in the Bible is James. It's been called the Proverbs of the New Testament, probably because it contains so many pithy words of wisdom.

And one of my favorite passages in James is 5:11, which speaks about perseverance:

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

How well do you deal persevere through adversity in business?

If you're like me, not as well as you could!

But take heart. Here's an idea from this letter of James, based on the Book of Job, that you can apply to building your business ...

It's this: While Job was perseverant, he was NOT patient. (See Job 3; 12-1-3; 16:1-3; 21:4.) Yet, perseverance ultimately carried the day.

You see, in the midst of dealing with unspeakable suffering, Job lost his patience several times and lamented his suffering, as in this example:

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: "May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, 'A boy is born! - Job 3:1-3

Since childhood, we have heard of (and been lectured about) the patience of Job. Yet, instead of the patience of Job, it's more accurate to speak of the perseverance of Job.

And perseverance, it turns out, was plenty.

Job never stopped believing in God's ultimate goodness, despite what his circumstances and friends told to the contrary. As a result, God restored his material prosperity many times over, because "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

Question: If the "patience of Job" is inaccurate, what other assumptions in business -- and in life -- should we question?

Action: Pick one under-performing area in your business where you are tempted to say, "But that's the way I've always done it." Then, ask God to help you persevere to a new, better way of doing things.

Good news: Do you find it hard to be patient with all daily setbacks that are inevitable in business? Me, too!

But that's OK (as long as you don't explode at customers, employees, family, et al).

All you need is perseverance.

And, because "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy," if you ask, He will provide the perseverance you need to get through any problem and improve any situation.

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