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"Four Secrets of Success: Laziness"
by Tom Goodman
July 7, 2007

God is interested in your success at work, school, parenting, sports, and your church projects.  If you don't believe me, you haven't read Psalm 20:4 recently.  The entire Psalm is a prayer for earthly success, but verse 4 states it bluntly: "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."

Across the next four weeks of LeaderLines, I want to introduce four secrets of success:


Let's look at the first secret: laziness.  Now, I haven't forgotten verses like Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NIV), "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might."  But I've met hard-working people, diligent people, who nevertheless are worn-thin, burned out, bitter, and irritable because they haven't leavened their diligence with a little sacred laziness.

What is sacred laziness?  Time alone with God for rest and meditation.  Time with family and friends.  Time enjoying your favorite activities.

Some people consider these things as idleness not suited for those who are really commited to a cause.  But I say if some people consider these things as laziness, then let's cultivate a little more laziness into our lives.

How can you do this?  Let me suggest three ways:

First, decide to make the Sabbath day holy.  This is the fourth, and the longest, of the Ten Commandments.  Most of us think the Fourth Commandment has something to do with worship, but if you read it carefully, you'll find that it has to do with rest first, and with worship second.  Sunday is not a day your boss has given you to catch up on your work; it's a day God has given you for some sacred laziness.

Second, decide to be an accomplishmentist.  The famous management consultant, Peter Drucker said that the Western world has the word "activist" but not the word "accomplishmentist" because there are so many busy people but few who are actually accomplishing things!  In the end, it's not how hard you work that counts, it's what you get done.  Now, in order to get things done, you often have to work hard.  But sometimes we forget that hard work and sacrifice are not ends in themselves.  Define what needs to be accomplished, find the quickest way to get there, then stop.

Third, delegate.  Of course, recruiting people, communicating with them, getting them to buy into your vision, making sure they have the training and resources they need, keeping up their morale -- it's work!  But in the end, you find you've accomplished far more than just doing the job yourself.

Henri Nouwen said: "I feel a tension within me.  I have only a limited number of years left for active ministry.  Why not use them well?  Yet one word spoken with a pure heart is worth thousands spoken in a state of spiritual turmoil.  Time given to inner renewal is never wasted.  God is not in a hurry."



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