The American workforce is the best in the free world. Unfortunately there is a virus sweeping through it that makes it less effective. It is the ben-gona-itus school of thought. Formerly known as procrastination and practiced by only a few, it has grown in popularity. Those infected by it have among their number quite a few superintendents. That is, super-intenders. They are super at intending. Upon being asked if they have completed an assignment their reply is, “I’ve been intending to do that.” That person is super. At what? Intending!

Poetically inclined, their favorite verse is:

“He dined beneath the moon,

He basked beneath the sun.

He lived a life of going to do,

And died with nothing done.”

Tomorrow is their favorite day.

Super-intenders have an unusual concept of the work year. Consider:

The work day is eight hours, one-third of a day. That totals 122 work days.

There are 52 Sundays a year; that leaves 70 work days.

There are 52 Saturdays a year; that leaves 18 work days.

They get two weeks of vacation, 14 days of vacation; so that leaves only four work days.

The average worker takes three days sick leave a year; that leaves only one day a year to work.

They are so indifferent they shrug off apathy. Historian Arnold Toynbee noted, “Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by an ideal which takes the imagination by storm.” Have you had any mental storms lately?

The sluggard mentality opens the door for enterprising and energetic people. Their biggest challenge in climbing the ladder of success is working their way though the muddled mass at the base that doesn’t know which way is up. Once people with a good work ethic get on the ladder, their ascent is opportunistic.

I had a dear friend, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, who was one of America’s foremost motivational speakers. He shared the secret of success in two words: “Nothing works.” Simple, isn’t it? He always followed the formula with, “Nothing works, you have to work it.” Initiative and industry are basic essentials. It takes a stick-to-it mentality to achieve an objective.

Studies show most people today live an unhappy existence. Various mental and emotional placebos are tried in a search for happiness. A key factor in finding happiness is in knowing it is not something to be sought or bought. Happiness is a beautiful byproduct of a job well done. A person’s failure to be and do their very best robs them of what they seek, happiness.

My theme Bible verse for life has been: “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).

Not only do I have it posted on the wall of my office I have it stored in my memory. It gives emotional equilibrium. If a thing is done heartily, that is enthusiastically, and the Lord approves, but people criticize you don’t get depressed. You didn’t do it for them, you did it for Him.

If you do a thing heartily and the Lord approves, and people brag, you don’t get the big head, you didn’t do it for them, you did it for Him.

That is emotional equilibrium.

Scripture exhorts us with this appeal, “Let us not grow weary in well doing.”

The Rev. Dr. Nelson L. Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. 


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