One of the most important metrics for success in life is learning to be a giver. Benjamin Hardy provides a nice discussion of importance of ‘giving’ in this Medium article. Benjamin does not, however, discuss importance of identification of your “12 men” in development of a giving mentality.
Let me illustrate.
In terms of influencing people, there are few people more successful than Jesus Christ. I doubt there is any business larger than combination of all organizations or businesses that are devoted to influencing people for Jesus Christ. A lesson then from this extremely successful influencer of people — Jesus Christ— on optimal and non-optimal giving.
Within context of this write up, optimal giving attempts to identify how best to give to achieve a cause you already are committed to in life.
The Pharisees were antagonists of Jesus Christ and were the religious leaders who demanded Jesus be crucified by the Romans. Jesus could have spent His time giving to the Pharisees with a view to convincing them to cease to consider Him a threat. Given Jesus would not abandon His teachings, however, and given His teachings were at variance to those of the Pharisees, it was unlikely Jesus ever would succeed at turning the Pharisees into His friends. If Jesus had spent most of His time with the Pharisees, they still would have had Him crucified because He never would have ceased to constitute a threat to them. If any would become His friends, they would like Nicodemus (a Pharisee) seek the truth and find it. Wisely, Jesus spent His time building up His disciples.
Jesus devoted His entire time on this earth to teaching, validating, correcting, and building up 12 men.
Every miracle Jesus worked occurred within context of efforts at building up 12 men. Jesus never held a religious service. People sought Him out within context of His itinerary designed to build up 12 men. It seemed foolish at times even to those 12 men. With value of hindsight, however, we see how wise Jesus turned out to be. The evidence that the time was well spent is obvious in the impact those 12 men and other disciples had on the world, such that at the present time there hardly is a big city in this world where the name of Jesus has not been heard, spoken or preached. Many people the world over make a living within context of the way of life created by Jesus Christ and those 12 men. Remember, Christianity is outcome of Jesus’ Life and activities anchored by those 12 men.
When Churches preach about Peter, James, and John today, it sometimes is entirely forgotten and lost in the background that these remarkable men were fishermen before they followed Jesus Christ.
Three fishermen became leaders of intellectual spirituality in a world filled with theologians.
Judaism, the religion the Pharisees were trying to protect (actually they really were mostly interested in protecting their offices, standing, and wealth) remains a Jewish religion. Christianity, which could have been no more than a sect of Judaism became and remains a worldwide religion. The magnificent city of Constantinople, which was a civilization in of itself is testament to what is possible when the ruler of a nation truly becomes a follower of Jesus Christ.
The Lesson: Yes, we need to learn to be givers if we want to make a mark on this world. It is important however, not to spend our time simply trying to prove we can take on challenges.
Sometimes divorce is better than attempting to love in contexts within which ‘the loved’ makes clear love is no longer appreciated. Sometimes quitting a job is better than trying to prove we can give when leaders of an organization make clear they are headed in a different direction. Sometimes disciplining children and taking away privileges is better than trying to give more and more when children seem to have lost perspective. Sometimes abandoning a country to bad leadership is better than criticizing leadership in contexts within which citizens typically exhibit exactly the same behaviors as ‘bad’ leaders.
In our desire to give, we need to consciously recognize importance of identifying the “12 men” that really matter.
After all, we cannot say we have impacted the world if our actions make no beneficial difference to lives of other people.
If you would like to find out more about how to operate within principles enunciated by Jesus Christ, who perhaps is the greatest visionary ever, check out my book titled, In Jesus Name.