This is a follow up to a recent Men’s Midweek class, so it is addressed to the men, but can be applied to any disciples with a few obvious changes.
Businesses routinely take inventory of their stock. They essentially take a measure of what they have or do not have. It is a common understanding in business that you must measure something to know how to identify opportunities for improvement. You both identify areas of gain and dig in to understand what caused them in order to build on them, or you identify areas lacking gain or even loss to know how to respond with a plan of action to turn it around.
In our busy lives, it is easy to go for long periods without taking a spiritual or life inventory. Businesses who don’t routinely “take stock” with physical assets, employees, finances or sales go out of business before too long. The stakes for our families and us are much higher than any business!
Why Take Stock? Why Now?
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
We are not promised long life or health, but as we live we are building our legacy – how we are known by God and people now, and how we will be remembered by those who knew us when we are gone and what our meeting with Christ will be like.
There is no time to waste. We need to take stock and do it often if we want to improve. Like Jesus’ question to the man near the Sheep Gate pool – “Do you want to get well?” That is the question to launch our inventory – first, because the question does not come from ourselves, but from Jesus, and second, because we must face the innermost parts of our hearts that begs the daily question about whether we really want to follow Jesus or not. If the answer is yes, then we have the courage and strength to take stock, because we are not doing it alone, but with Jesus, who will give us everything we need to build on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses – to the glory of God!
Make Time, Take Stock
Make a time of several hours where you can assure you will not be interrupted – where you can think, pray, and read. Everyone knows what is most meaningful to take stock of in his or her own lives, but if you are having any trouble breaking through the noise, some questions like these might help get the ball rolling:
Relationship with God
- What victories have I had that I can thank God for?
- What recent blessings have I received?
- What have I repented of?
- How is my daily, hourly walk with Jesus? Do I consider his teachings and examples throughout the day?
- What Scriptural insights have I gained from my Bible study? Have I applied them?
- Am I avoiding anything or anyone for any unrighteous reason?
- How have I been making my decisions? Through Scriptural wisdom and faith, or instinct and fear?
Relationship with my wife
- How have I led my wife spiritually? (she must answer that)
- How have I loved my wife (again, only something she can answer – so you have to man up and ask the question)
- How have we grown or what victories have we had in our marriage recently?
Relationship with my family
- How have I led my family spiritually? (they must answer that)
- What kind of presence am I with them? Do I help them be happy and secure or does my presence create strife?
- Do I meet all of their needs? Which ones am I good at meeting, which ones have I not met well, or have they let me know I have not met at all?
Relationship with disciples
- Who have I encouraged lately with Scripture?
- Who have I drawn closer to this year?
- Do I have relationships where I can openly share how I am doing – like sharing the results of taking an inventory like this one?
Relationships with the lost
- Who do I rejoice in because they are now faithful and I had the joy of helping with the planting and watering?
- How much is the lost on my heart or in my prayers?
- Just what are my convictions about the lost? Do they match Jesus’ convictions, whom I follow?
- Do I need a motivation check?
- Who have I served lately according to their needs?
- Do I love like Jesus?
- What successes have I had in my work?
- What is my stock at work as a disciple? Do I strive for excellence because that is how Jesus did everything?
- Am I using the talents God has given me?
- Physical belongings (car, house, etc.)
- What am I waiting for?
- Have I committed my dreams to God praying for miracles?
- Do my dreams align with God’s will?
- What is my plan upon failures? – Will it honor God?
- What is my plan if I am successful? – Will it honor God?
Once you have taken stock, measuring both strengths and weaknesses, blessings and needs, you must come up with a faithful plan of action committed to God.
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Brothers, as a brother who needs to do this just as much as anyone else, I lovingly challenge everyone to do something like this, deeply connecting with God in the process and faithfully expecting God to work in transformative, miraculous ways in your life as a result!