Related collections and offers
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)|
Read an Excerpt
How to Make Good Decisions
By Mack King Carter
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Mack King Carter Ministerial Enterprises
All rights reserved.
Identify Your Passion
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:10-12 NIV)
Passion is a gift that has been given to us by God. That is sometimes difficult to explain: articulation is slow to come. But as you keep doing what you are doing, then your passion is set ablaze. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted to become a professor of theology or philosophy. But he had seen his father stand up for justice, which lit a flame inside of him. Dr. King's passion was the liberating of people in order to liberate the world.
Passion lasts for a lifetime. But sometimes things unusual and unheard of cause us to reach out through mercy (with a peaceful attitude and conciliation). Are you able to work through challenging situations?
Your passion may not be immediately evident to you. It's not always easy to find. But we can't accuse God of creative malfeasance! One of the reasons we may have trouble identifying our passion is that we are always trying to copy someone else. God only wants us to be the best we can be. That requires continuing training and education.
As you seek to discover or to expand your passion, it is necessary to educate yourself about how to better prepare and perform in particular areas of giftedness. Education is important because it is not a destination: it's a journey. I think we must always continue to avail ourselves of new trends and megatrends. In the age of the computer, those trends are developing more quickly than ever! I am appalled to meet students who have been in college for two or three years and have no idea what they want to do with the rest of their lives. This means that their passion demands expansion. The recurring question for a person of passion is always: How can I get better in order to do better?
Another reason we may have difficulty identifying our passion is that we allow ourselves to rest in a cubicle of nowhereness. Many people can never make a successful life because they neglect to find what they not only like, but what they are skilled in doing. That is always a problem. So it is highly recommended that a person would discover his or her passion before setting out on a lifetime career of going nowhere. But you can't find your passion if you're not doing anything! Without identifying your passion, you live a drifting, empty life, like a ship floundering at sea ... going nowhere.
Skill and passion are just about one and the same. You can "want to be" all you want to, but if you don't have the skill, you won't be able to do it. I wanted to play football. I was good in elementary school sandlot flag football. I was watching television one day, and my mother told me I would not be good at real football. She was right. I didn't have the skill. So I became the team statistician: you've got to get in where you fit in! I was good at being the statistician, and I got to enjoy watching the others play.
Michael Jordan was a great basketball player. When he decided he wanted to play baseball, he was no good at it! He realized that he had no business trying to do that. But when he returned to the NBA, he won two more championships. Jordan now owns the Charlotte Bobcats. He is seeing his own sons trying to duplicate him in basketball. But they are not Michael, and they don't have his passion. It will never happen. As you make a decision, make sure that you have the passion and the know-how to do what it is that you claim you have a passion for. Find out early what you can't do, and then don't do it. People in church need to know where their gifts are so they can serve well. Not everybody needs to be in the choir!
You connect with your passion through your love of God and people.
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.' So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." (Luke 10:29-37 NKJV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan puts the floodlight on a rejected human being who has been demeaned and dispossessed. We assume that the priest and the Levite because of their religious responsibilities are hindered from helping this man. The truth is that they simply had no compassion. People who have no compassion will never find their passion.
Determine what really motivates you to move—that's your passion. Michelangelo painted the Sistine chapel because that was his passion. He goes down in history as probably the chief artistic gift of the Renaissance because he knew what his passion was. A trip to Rome and Florence, Italy will provide exhibits A and B that painting and sculpting were, indeed, Michelangelo's passion.
It is recorded that Socrates, the Greek philosopher, once said: "The first maxim of life is to know yourself." No wonder there is so much confusion! We are always trying to be someone else because we have not yet discovered what drives us.
There have been many great physicists down through the years. Such men as Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton stood out as the most profound and scholarly personalities in the scientific realm of physics ... until Dr. Albert Einstein. Dr. Einstein developed the theory of relativity in 1905 because his passion was physics. He lived and died for it. His intellectual genius coupled with his passion will forever place him as the preeminent physicist in world history. Many people are gifted intellectually, but they do not have the passion to follow through. Dr. Einstein discovered his passion early: he was only 26 years old when he developed the theory of relativity (E=mc2). He was born in 1879 and died in 1955, but he spent most of his adult years as a professor of physics at Princeton University.
When I was growing up in Ocala, Florida, the Howard High School's football team coach, James F. "No Loss" Boss, lost all seven games our team played in the first year. But from 1926 to 1946, he only lost four games in 20 years. That's passion! Determine your passion.
Many people make decisions that will please their parents ... becoming a doctor, for example. That's not for everyone. What do you like? Do that. Even if it is being a carpenter or contractor. What is your passion? Bill Clinton has passion. Barack Obama has passion. He looks presidential whether he wins or loses!
Mary McCloud Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman College (now University) in 1904 in Daytona Beach, FL. She lived for the school. She stayed on the campus, and she never married. One's passion can sometimes prevent one from what some would consider a full life. Mrs. Bethune never married because she was married to Bethune Cookman College. Every time she spoke, she said the same thing: "We must not forget our school." She had built that school with only $1.50. That was her passion: the education of African-American men and women. People would often times tease her about giving the same speech every time she got up. Her answer was: "I only have one speech!" Mrs. Bethune's priority in life was to make Bethune-Cookman College all that she could for the education of her people. Passion was her guiding principle, and she is heralded today as one of the greatest women of the last 200 years.
The apostle Paul wrestled with himself and his passion, which caused him to live a celibate life of total commitment to the call of ministry. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9 (NKJV):
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Sometimes one's passion cannot or will not be transmitted to future generations. When I was a boy in Ocala, Florida, there was a woman who started a printing press and printed all of the black church news from Pensacola to Key West. Her name was Madam Mattie J. Shaw Cohen. Not only did she do all of the printing for the ecclesiastical groups in the black church for about 50 years; she also started a burial society for the burying of poor people. She provided financial assistance to the families of those who had passed on. Beyond this, she also sold sheet music to black church musical departments all over Florida. But she was not able to transmit her great work to succeeding generations. It was her passion. Sometimes it is difficult (if not impossible) for those after you to cultivate the same passion you have. Many children have been frustrated because they feel like the passion of their parents should also be theirs. While they can certainly have passion, it will not necessarily be in the same areas of life.
Jackie Robinson had passion. To be able to come up through the minor leagues and stand where he stood, he had to go through a lot. Many attempts were made to intimidate and even injure him. He would simply duck and get back up. Jackie Robinson withstood all verbal and physical attempts on his life. He lived with the threat of death because of his skin color. In 2013, there was a movie out about Jackie Robison called 42. All young people and adults should see it. It shows a picture of what we were, and if we are not careful, what we can be again. On a personal level, I was blessed to have seen Jackie Robinson in person in 1972, when he gave the commencement address at Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. I sat on the platform with him and others. What a great thrill it was to see the hero of many of us in the 1950s and 1940s. Unfortunately, Robinson died in the fall of 1972. But his passionate legacy in the areas of sports and social justice still live on after his demise over 40 years ago. Because of his greatness, he was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1962. Oh, the power of passion!
Oprah has passion. Oprah Winfrey is almost a magical and mercurial personality in the 20th and 21st centuries. Winfrey, who was born in the state of Mississippi and attended school in Tennessee, has emerged as the leading television and cinematic person in the entire entertainment field. She has risen from the ashes of low expectations and her ebony hue and is now the standard-bearer for the cinematic world. She is also one of the richest personalities in the United States of America. We can say beyond equivocation that Oprah Winfrey has been propelled by her passion into astronomical success.
Many people have been discovered almost by happenstance. Somebody hears a great musician playing. That's what happened to Louis Armstrong in New Orleans. Because of Armstrong's talent, Benny Goodman hired him even though jazz bands in the South were still segregated. Then Armstrong struck out on his own and went to the Sorbonne in Paris, France. They didn't believe it was possible for anyone to the notes that he was hitting, so they actually took his trumpet apart to see whether it was rigged.
Babe Ruth was in a reformatory school, and the schoolmaster saw him hitting a baseball and noted how far he could hit it. Ruth had such a great batting eye! So they sprang him from the school, and he signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox. Somebody saw something in him. And he became one of the greatest players that ever lived.
Just keep doing what you are passionate about. The more you do it, the better you become. You must enjoy doing something ... even if it's telling jokes. You can do something and keep doing what you like most. Ask, "How can this be a blessing to other people?" Sammy Davis, Jr. was one of the most gifted entertainers ever. He could do it all ... sing, dance, act, play instruments. Sammy wasn't the best-looking man. In fact, he was rather weird looking! But he did what he did best and took his passion to an exalted height.
Passion must be spurred by people rather than profit. In the process of helping others, financial prosperity may come. But that should never be the number one desire. That's why people would say George Washington Carver was a nut! (No pun intended.) Everybody benefitted from his inventions but him. He left nothing to be transferred to the black community at all. He was a scientific genius, but he didn't have any business insight. His negligence in that area was a hindrance, particularly to the African-American community. Carver's products only benefit us today at the level of consumerism—not ownership. He had the passion for science but not business. He believed that since God gave it to him, he should not use it as a means of commercialism. He is one of the few human beings in U.S. history who felt that way. My opinion is that he should have gotten with some economist and businessperson in the African-American community and raised the question: "How can I use this to benefit my people and then the world?" No way would Rockefeller talk about reaching the world without considering his sons, grandsons, and granddaughters. His name stands years after his death because his passion included and engulfed his posterity. We bless Dr. Carver for all his great genius. But his naiveté was abysmal. He had no wisdom about business and the success of his own people. He had native scientific genius but lacked existential wisdom. At its core, America is not a theocracy; it is a plutocracy.
There's nothing wrong with having money, but we must make sure that money does not possess us. Mary McCloud Bethune was not worth much when she died. Her reward was her students and their success. She was a woman who had free access to the White House during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She and Eleanor Roosevelt were considered close friends. President Roosevelt often said to her, "Mrs. Bethune, I'm always glad to see you because you never come here to ask anything for yourself. It is always about doing something for others." This was her passion.
B.B. King was the greatest blues singer ever. Many people wanted him to preach because of his voice. But he refused because he knew that was not his calling or his passion.
Sometimes one's passion sort of falls upon him or her. It could be a neglected area of life that needs a champion. Although she was a Catholic nun, Mother Teresa of Calcutta found her passion in the streets of Calcutta India waiting on and serving the poorest of the poor. That was her niche, and nothing could prevent her or dissuade her from her mission. Somebody once said to her: "With all of these people with rotting flesh, how do you do that? I could not do it for a million dollars!" Her reply was: "Neither could I. I only do it for the love of Jesus." That was her passion! Because she discovered her passion for ministering to the hurting, she will continue to live on in the consciousness of moral humanity.
What is your passion?
Excerpted from How to Make Good Decisions by Mack King Carter. Copyright © 2014 Mack King Carter Ministerial Enterprises. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Identify Your Passion, 1,
Chapter 2 Follow Good Advice, 11,
Chapter 3 Stay in Positive Surroundings, 30,
Chapter 4 Make Sure Your Decision Will Bring Glory to God, 47,
Chapter 5 Weigh Your Options, 66,
Chapter 6 Prepare Before You Take Action, 75,
Chapter 7 Move Out in Faith, 93,
Chapter 8 Call Time Out if Necessary, 109,
Chapter 9 Make Sure You Can See Clearly, 122,
Chapter 10 Practice Patience, 145,
Chapter 11 Never Sacrifice Your Priorities, 151,
Chapter 12 Evaluate What You Have Done, 162,
Conclusion: A Call to Action, 171,
Afterword: A Special Message from Patricia Carter, 191,