Timeless Principles of Truth

Over my lifetime of essentially four different careers, I have learned a few things along the way.  I have come to believe, not without struggle, that those who have come before have had real world battles and struggles representing not just theoretical musings, but the stuff of which real life is made.  Usually one must wait to become “elderly,” as am I, in order to appreciate this fully.  I have encountered some younger folk along the way who have more wisdom than did I at their age, which is encouraging, and a marvel to observe.  The reasons can be varied.

The sad thing about youth, however, is that you cannot, in too many instances, instruct or warn them about pitfalls since they seem to have to go over some cliffs before they know it hurts, a lot sometimes.  I was the same in my youth, and maybe worse then average.  Some cultures have been different, though, specifically some Asian cultures in particular have not been that way so much.  There the elderly have an honored place in the lives of the young and respected for their wisdom.  That is, until they become westernized.

A funny thing about the young is that they also tend to believe too much.  Yes, too much of the wrong thing.  It has to do with lacking that real life frame of reference that can only come through years of a variety of experiences.  Those exceptional young folk, mentioned before, who seem to grasp and apply important information without the experience, do so I believe, because of their respect for those who have gone before.  In other words, they believe more of what “we” have to say and take it to heart.  The jettisoning of wisdom from the past is perfectly described by current contempt for western civilization history in higher places as being useless information from “dead white men.”

During my four career life, I have been privy to a plethora of training, teaching, preaching, reading, coercion, bribing, threatening, and the like, by those trying to get people to conform and accept what is thought to be the most important road to success, however it was defined.  A few of them were maybe on the road; most of them were not.  Everything that comes down the pike promises to lead one to success, happiness, wealth and health if only you buy this or that book or take this or that workshop.  I remember one very wise psychiatrist known world wide for his creative theories and writings.  During a workshop he distilled his teaching on relationships down to a single truth that he acknowledged was taught way before him.  That was, “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.”

I believe most people know that the things of real importance are not that complex.  The problem is in application, and that’s where we are most likely to fail.  I remember telling school students that I could teach them some simple principles that would cause their parents to give them all the freedom they wanted, except, as I told them, they will not want to do them.  And after I explained the steps, they pretty much agreed.  It is very simple, but difficult to do.  And so it is with the following “Secrets,” if you will, that are not difficult, but hard to do.  These are very simple concepts having mainly to do with work, but as with all jobs, success has less to do with job skills and more to do with people skills.  They consist of only three principles that are found in the Bible.  This is just one glance of a panoramic vista of truths found throughout the Bible.

As the Bible states, it, the Bible, is complete in its training and instruction of all that is necessary to live successfully in this life, but also what is critical for eternity.  I have found over and over again that anything of real importance has its genesis in the Bible.   The verses are from 2 Timothy 2: 1-7.  And while Paul is instructing the young pastor in his ministry, the principles have far reaching effect.

“(1) You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  (2) And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.  (3) Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  (4) No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer.  (5) Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.  (6) The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.  (7) Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this” (2 Tim. 2:1-7).

The first principle: “A soldier wants to please his commander.”  When we find ourselves working anywhere under someone’s authority, our main objective is to please that figure.  Making the boss look good and being his/her support will always be rewarded.  Oppositional behavior is wrong (if you don’t like the job, quit), that is, unless you are asked to violate God’s laws or principles.

The second principle:  “One competes according to the rules.”  Nothing is worse than a “loose cannon” who cannot be trusted to follow orders, rules or policy thereby causing problems for others.  Every organization has a playbook.  God’s playbook is the Bible.  The old saying “rules are made to be broken,” is probably the mantra of those always looking for a job.

The third principle:  “Work hard.”  The best way to get promoted or paid for doing extra is to be willing to do extra without being paid. To be able to get something for being good at anything, one must first be willing to be good for nothing, so to speak.  Rather than departing with “now don’t work too hard,” we should be saying, “now work hard.”  We work “as to the Lord and not unto man” (Col. 3:23,24).

While Paul was instructing young Timothy specifically in ministry, the principles apply to life.  The last verse is especially rich.  Here Paul tells Timothy to think about what he is saying and in so doing, God will confirm to him that this is right and even give him additional insight.  In other words, “pleasing/respecting authority,” “following the rules,” and “working hard” is not human wisdom, but has its origin in the mind of God.  Of course these few verses are miniscule compared to the Bible’s whole counsel of God, but as with all of God’s Word, they are true, very valuable and timeless.     



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