Managing Your Life’s Two Drops
Let me ask you a simple question…
Did you realize that you were given two special drops of oil in your life’s teaspoon and that managing them wisely will lead to better happiness?
If you didn’t, great!
Then let me explain with – yep, you guessed it – what else but a story
Paulo Coelho, the renowned Brazilian lyricist and best-selling author, tells this short story in one of his writings which goes as such…
“A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men”. The young man, whom we’ll call Jonathan just for the sake of this exercise and my telling of the story”
“Jonathan wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain. There lived the wise man that the young man was looking for”.
“However, instead of finding a wise man sitting alone, Jonathan entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world”.
“The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man, Jonathan, had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience. With considerable patience, the Wise Man listened attentively to the reason for the boy’s visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness”.
“He suggested that Jonathan take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours’ time. ‘However, I want to ask you a favor,’ the wise man added, and he handed the young man a teaspoon, into which he poured two drops of oil. ‘While you walk, carry this spoon and don’t let the oil spill’”
“Jonathan began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man”.
“So,” asked the wise man, “did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”
“Embarrassed, Jonathan confessed that he had seen nothing. His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him. “So, go back and see the wonders of my world,” said the wise man. “You can’t trust a man if you don’t know his house.”
“Now more at ease, Jonathan, took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche. Returning to the wise man, he reported in detail all that he had seen”.
“But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?” asked the wise man. Looking down at the spoon, Jonathan realized that he had spilled the oil.
“Well, the only advice I have to give you,” said the wise man is this. “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.” Manuscript Found At Accra (Paul Coelho)
This is by far one of my most favorite stories simply because I see so much meaning and useful content within in for everyday life so that I’m clear about where I’m going, and that I focus on what is really important and I manage my own two drops
So let me put this story within context for you, so you can see how to extract clarity and meaning from your own life’s story.
Are you ready? Good!
Just like the young man, Jonathan, in the story, we too are given two drops of oil which are poured into our life’s teaspoon; we are also given the responsibility to manage them wisely as we enjoy the wonders and splendor of the world God has created around us in everyday life.
In thinking about wisely managing our lives, and adding a little more wisdom to our discussion, I want to reference one of the greatest writers in Christendom, the Apostle Paul.
Apostle Paul wrote a sensible piece of practical advice to the people at Ephesus in Ephesians 5:15-17 AMPC in which he said,
“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people); Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is”.
Apostle Paul has just helped me sum up those two drops in our life’s teaspoon.
TIME: YOUR FIRST DROP
The first drop represents time, which we all have a limited supply of, and the second drop represents opportunity, which may exist in abundance all around us, but we must always wisely choose which ones to explore because time will never permit us to explore every available opportunity.
Let’s journey together as we explore a little more of time and opportunity because I want you to leave this session with a bigger, more useful perspective of what you have available in your life, and how to best manage it.
The first drop of oil we are given in our teaspoon of life is called time.
From the moment we are born until the moment we breathe our last breath, we have been moving through our lives, according to time. Time is the universal pattern within all of our lives which continues to advance us by the seconds, hours, days, and years – closer towards eternity.
Time can be seen as God’s chauffeur-driven limo which picks us up from the moment we are born, with one goal of driving us daily towards our final face-to-face appointment with the Creator Himself.
Time is something we are given in a limited supply which we can’t borrow more from friends; we can’t beg more from people passing by; we can’t steal some from anyone – we can only use what we have been allotted.
And contrary to today’s popular ideas by management experts, time is something that honestly, you don’t have the power to manage or control – you can only manage yourself and what you do at any given moment
…because time doesn’t wait, time doesn’t stop, time doesn’t negotiate, and time only moves in one direction – towards eternity.
The Apostle Paul says that we are to “make the most of our time”.
This means that every day, we use our time to become more of who God has called us to be, one step at a time. And becoming who God has called us to be, will always require two important things:
- Patience with & submission to God’s development process within your life
I know that it is often easy sometimes to become frustrated with the path and process God uses to transform us into the best version of ourselves;
I understand that sometimes it feels like we’re not moving forward in our lives, like we don’t have a clue as to where we’re going or what God seems to be doing with us, but our patience with and submission to God’s development process, which is different for each of us, is important to making the most of our time; The next important thing is…
- Faith to believe that God’s hand is leading toward the fulfillment of your destiny
Right now I’m resisting the urge to tell you a story about this because I’ve got one in my head but I really don’t want to make this video too long, so I’ll just say that faith to believe simply comes down to trusting that God knows what He is doing and that there within every mess and mistake on your path, lies a miracle designed to push you towards your place of destiny in this world.
OPPORTUNITY: YOUR SECOND DROP
Here is a wisdom nugget on this you should write down.
“A wise person allows time to advance them to the right season where they can seize opportunities which become available to him/her, to produce the greatest good they can from their lives”.
Here is what that means.
There are 4 natural seasons, right?
Summer, Winter, Harvest, Spring – and each natural season brings opportunities that are often only available in those seasons.
Here is a simple natural example of this; you can water ski in summer, you can snow ski in winter, you can plant in spring and reap in harvest right?
Now imagine it’s 98 degrees outside in someplace like Hawaii, everyone is outside surfing, sunbathing, swimming in the ocean – and our friend Tom here, is frustrated because he is trying to get his snow-ski to work going down this beautiful mountainside.
What’s the problem?
The problem is that Tom is working against the available opportunities that exist in the season of summer, and he’s trying to make something work that is not compatible with the season he currently is in.
Now I want you to think about that for a moment because many people are discouraged and frustrated with their lives simply because they are trying to make something work that is not compatible with the current season of life that they are in.
And the sad reality is that this causes them to look at themselves as failures when all they need to do is take advantage of the season of life they are in.
This leads us to know how to seize available opportunities.
What does it mean to seize an opportunity?
To seize an opportunity means “to take advantage of an appropriate or favorable time or condition which arises in your life that will allow you to attain a goal, or advance towards success. This opportunity may not have existed before, and may not exist again and therefore, you have to suddenly or forcibly grasp hold of, or use those favorable conditions to your advantage”.
Robert Kiyosaki, author of the bestselling book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ summed it up in the following words, “you must train your mind to see what your eyes cannot.”
Here is the point!
“Opportunities are seen and seized only by people of vision and action!”
Most people silently struggle to understand and grasp what God’s will/plan is for their lives, but I firmly believe that while we will lead different lives and fulfill our destinies in different ways, God has already revealed His will/plan to us in such a simple way, that everyone can draw wisdom and strength from its meaning.
In Genesis 3:28, God gave mankind a command that still rings true today which said, “And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]”;
I firmly believe that God’s will for each of us is that we wisely use the resources of our time, talents, & opportunities to positively impact our generation; and to leave an uncommon example for future generations to follow and be better than we were.
You see, I have found that once we accept this simple mission in life, we will find ourselves constantly asking three simple questions every day.
The first 2 questions are to help us to continually push the boundaries of our lives to keep growing, to keep moving forward, to keep reaching for the next level, yet it is the third question that matters most in your life. Here are those 3 questions:
- Can I become more today than I was yesterday?
This question speaks to your capacity to improve yourself and strengthen your character step-by-step
- Can I do more today than I did yesterday?
This question speaks to your ability to push beyond all limitations, to accomplish whatever you have in your heart to do.
- Will God be pleased with what I have done with my life?
This question matters above all else because it speaks about you recognizing that the only real approval you need for living a life that matters, comes from the only True Source of life who is qualified to tell you ‘Well Done’! That is Almighty God Himself.
Let me ask you one final question…
How do you honestly plan to manage those drops of oil in your life, moving forward from today?
Do you have a plan for it?
Do you have a simple but effective system that can walk you step-by-step towards becoming the best version of yourself that God created you to be, while wisely using your resources of time, talents, and opportunities to positively impact your generation, and to leave an uncommon example for future generations to follow and be better than you were?
If you have a plan for managing those drops in your life, that’s great and I’m proud of you.
If you don’t and you haven’t quite figured out how to do that as yet, that’s okay, but this also makes me excited for both you and me because it presents another opportunity for us to continue our journey together.