The Seven Spiritual Shifts Of Fatherly Success!
Dear Visionary Leader,
My earliest childhood memory of my father, was when I was approximately two years old, holding on to his pant leg on the subway in Brooklyn, New York. I don’t know where I was going, but I was on an adventure with my Dad! I remember looking up into his face and seeing him look down at me. I had no idea at that time, how great he truly was! I can still see his eyes looking down on me.
I suppose that every son or daughter, who has a wonderful relationship with his/her Dad, believes his/her Dad is the greatest in the Universe. I can truly say, that my Dad stood the test of time, fought the good fight of faith and crossed the finish line victoriously. He has seen the face of God.
As we approach Father’s Day next Sunday, I would like to take this opportunity to relay personal growth lessons that my Dad taught me. Throughout the years, I watched my Dad expand and enlarge himself in order to make the shifts necessary for compounding spiritual growth in everyone he came in contact with, as well as, those he served with through the decades. I hope and pray that you will learn these personal lessons and apply them to yourself and to your family. The hardest work we ever do in this life, is to work on ourselves!
A PERSONAL SHIFT
We must come to know the difference between busyness and business and activity and accomplishment. Sooner or later, if we’ve ever going to become greater than ourselves, we have to make a personal shift, moving from selfishness to selflessness. It is easy to gradually miss the mark and not fully realize the opportunities that are forever gone. Our children spell “love” as “time.” If we are not careful we will look back with frustration instead of fulfillment.
A PRIORITY SHIFT
We need to move from in-reach to outreach. We will never take a U-Haul truck containing our life’s possessions to the cemetery. Our great ambition in life should be to see souls saved, churches planted and the Kingdom of God advanced throughout the earth. Dr. Stephen Covey, in his classic book entitled, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People tells the brief story about the man who climb the ladder of success to later find that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. Just because we are moving up does not mean we are moving forward. I find myself in this season of life, prayerfully planning months in advance, getting the big rocks in life into the calendar first so they are not neglected and lost forever. This is not easy for any of us, with so many, seemingly urgent demands coming our way.
A POTENTIAL SHIFT
I could share many life-changing and life-threatening events that has taken place in our family through the course of time. For example, in 1979, Hurricane Frederick blasted his way through Mobile Bay and over the top of our home with a sustained wind of 155 mph. We nearly lost everything! For approximately one month we did not have running water or electricity. The day after Hurricane Fredrick blasted its way through our lives, destroying our business, Dad got his sons (James L. Davis & James O. Davis) up early and marched us up to the nursery business. We could not drive from our home to the business due to the uprooted trees strewed across the road. As we walked to our nursery business, we could see the devastation left from Hurricane Fredrick. We had had a very successful plant nursery company. During the peak season, we grew an average of 30,000 fern and flower baskets; plus, thousands of shrubs and trees. As we walked throughout the acres of land that comprised the nursery, all of the greenhouses had been destroyed. It was a most devastating time for us!
I will never forget what took place next. I heard Dad say, “Sons let’s start cleaning up this business today and save as many plants as possible.” I said, “Why do we have to do it today? It seems like this is a waste of time. Nearly everything has been destroyed.” My Dad responded, “Just because a storm comes, it doesn’t mean that God has changed His mind or His will for our family. We will begin rebuilding our business today to do the will of God.” It’s not about the events; it’s about the relationships that are formed and built up through the events. Potential is built on the peaks of problems!
A PEOPLE SHIFT
At some point in life we have to move from adding to multiplying. If we’re going to have lasting impact, we have to be able to move from addition to multiplication and from production to reproduction. My Dad always had time for his sons, his wife and people. I can tell you incident after incident when Dad found a down and outer and turned him/her into an up and outer. His compassion for people was exemplified in the small and big things he did for them. It is not about buildings and money; ultimately, it is about people! He understood how people thought and knew how to connect with them.
We need to know how people think, reason and view the world. Jesus Christ did not die for buildings but for people. God must really love people because He has created billions of them! If we want to know what a person really values in life, all we need to do is look at their check-book and calendar. How we use our money and our time are key priority points for all of us.
A PROVISION SHIFT
As Dads, we need to move from consumers to contributors. It seems that most Christians in the West have developed a consumer mentality instead of a contributing mentality. I believe the greatest law in the Universe is the law of sowing and reaping. None of us can escape this law in any area of our lives. Pastor Leon Fontaine, Senior Pastor of Springs Church, Winnipeg, Canada, has often said, “What we do not manage well, will eventually manage us.” If we don’t manage our money, our money will manage us. If we don’t manage our marriage our marriage will manage us. If we don’t manage our health our health will manage us.
As we sow faithfully, we will reap over the course of our lives abundantly. Over the years, I have observed leaders, who have the innate ability to “sense or smell God’s provision” in their lives. In other words, as they walked forward, they knew somehow God would provide for them along the way, even though they did not know how at the time. As Dads may the Lord grant us an open heaven with daily provision for our family, work and ministries!
A PERSPECTIVE SHIFT
When my brother and I were 15 years old, on one particular afternoon, we had been arguing and fussing with each other. I remember Dad walking into the family room and demanding that we sit down on the sofa. He looked at both of his sons and with tears he said, ” If you boys would ever quit fussing and fighting with each other, you have the potential of helping to change the world!” I never forgot that moment. He was inspiring us to be great men of God. In the day in which we live, it is no longer the West going to the Rest, but the Best around the world going to the Rest of the world. We will have to move from traditional missions to global missions in order to finish the Great Commission.
A PROCESS SHIFT
We need to move from the older to the younger. Throughout the Global Church today, we are witnessing a huge generational shift-taking place. The older generation is graduating for glory and the younger generation is stepping up for such a time as this. I live 13 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and 45 minutes from the Orlando International Airport. Some of my friends say, “James, you should move closer to the airport.” My response is, “I am only 13 minutes from the ocean. I did it on purpose.” I love taking a walk along the beach and listening to the waves in the water. And while I am walking, there are two waves constantly in motion and at times are at odds with one another. There is the new wave that is coming in and the old wave that is going out. At some point, these two waves will find themselves at odds with one another. However, 10 times out of 10 the new wave comes in and the old wave goes out. In other words, the new wave takes the place of the old wave.
As Dads we need to be sure to create opportunities for our children to go further than we ever did. We should never tell our children that they are not going to be successful or call them derogatory names. I hope and pray that I can help my daughters, Olivia and Priscilla to go further than I have ever gone and to create opportunities for their personal and spiritual growth so they also can be mightily used by the King of the Universe.
We are witnessing an older generation going to glory and the newer generation stepping into fresh and vibrant leadership roles. Sometimes, I hear Church leaders express concern about the generation that is coming behind them. Yet, I am quite confident that the generation that is going on ahead of us at one point was worried and concerned about us! The last time I checked, it is the Lord’s Church, not our church. Christ is building His Church and He knows exactly what He is doing in order to advance the Kingdom of God and fulfill the Great Commission in this century.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Cofounder / Billion Soul Network
Cochair / Global Networking