THE current craze for instant gratification goes against the grain of successful achievement. Moses spent eighty years preparing for the job that would last forty. That is a two to one ratio of preparation to execution. The greater the goal, the greater the preparation. Much of your life can be spent getting you ready for what seems a brief season and assignment. But to be able to say at the end, ‘‘I have finished my course” is to have lived an exemplary life.
Before passing the torch to Timothy, Paul says, ‘‘Work hard so you can receive His approval,” 2 Tim. 2:15. God uses those who prepare well. Whether you are called to business, education, politics, medicine or the law, the principle remains: Jehovah uses people who are prepared in their occupations or professions. The price required for lifelong success cannot be lowered. We all want success, we are just not willing to pay the price winners paid to achieve success. You must be prepared for your opportunity.
Abraham Lincoln said: ‘‘I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” Benjamin Disrael, first ever Jew to govern Britain as premier said: ‘‘The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his time when it comes.” When the fate of the Jews hung in the balance, Mordecai told Esther that her experience in the King’s palace had prepared her, ‘‘For such a time as this,” Esther 4:14. She responded and saved the Jews. All great people of talent prepared themselves for their opportunities. Your greatest challenge, therefore, isn’t lack of opportunity, but your being ready when it comes.
It is not enough to be prepared, you must stay prepared. It has been said that knowledge is doubling every five years. So if you don’t keep learning, you don’t keep growing, you will end up keeping skills that no longer match the challenge you face in the world today. It is estimated some doctors are so busy tending patients, they are years behind the latest developments in their field. If you or your loved ones get ill, that could become a real concern for you.
Preparation does not begin with what you do, it begins with what you believe. If you believe that success tomorrow depends on what you do today, you will treat today differently. A wise sailor studies the weather before going to sea because he knows that avoiding a storm is easier than getting out of one. The leader of today will be rated by his ability to anticipate problems than to meet them as they come. Preparation isn’t a mere event, it is a perspective. Abraham Lincoln said, ‘‘If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six hours sharpening my axe.” That was because as a young man Lincoln split rails with an axe to make a living so he knew the value of staying sharp. Wisdom taught him to prepare in advance, either to cut wood, study law or lead the nation. Which is why scripture says, ‘‘Hold on to instruction, do not let it go. Guard it well, for it is your life.
By instruction here is meant the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Talmud, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, all of which contain the wisdom of God. One important question is: what am I supposed to prepare for? If you don’t have a goal already, ask God for one. ‘‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths,” Proverbs 3:6. The humbling truth is that all achievements will be surpassed, records will be broken, reputations will fade and tributes will be forgotten. Living to create an earthly legacy is short sighted for Jehovah put you here to do His will. If you are wise you will keep that in mind.
Our champion today is Peter Mark Roget, the British physician and Philologist remembered for his Roget Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (1852). The book is a comprehensive classification of synonyms or verbal equivalents that is still popular in this modern world. Roget was born in January 1779 in London, England, he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He later helped found a school of medicine at Manchester. In 1814, he invented the log slide rule for calculating roots and powers of numbers. From 1808 to 1840 he practiced medicine in London.
The first edition of his Thesaurus (1852), which was begun in his 61st year and finished in his 73rd year, was a product of his retirement from practice although it was based on verbal classification begun in 1805. Roget died as the secretary of the Royal Society in 1869. He had become a fellow of the society in 1815 and appointed its secretary in 1827. The significance of Roget is that the object of his renown fell outside of his profession and that he worked at it after the age of 60. It means you can achieve anything as long as you are alive.