Profit or gain is a desirable thing. It’s the advantageous quality of being beneficial (WordNet). To profit or gain is to have more of the real positive things in life. However, the ease with which we can realize the opposite of profit makes it imperative that we understand what constitutes profit and how to go about profiting in life.
Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul…” (Matthew 16 verse 26). The implication of what Jesus said in the above text is that having more of the wrong thing doesn’t amount to a profitable life; we must therefore avoid the risk of getting our priorities wrong. In the same vein, it means your soul is more valuable that having the whole world!
The human soul comprises the mind, the will and emotion. For profitable life and living, you and I must be healthy in these three components of the human soul. A man with an unstable mental health will not adjudged to be living a profitable life even when he has a lot of material possessions, for instance. There are many more subtle unhealthy state of the soul that people exhibit.
Steps to a profitable life
Step 1: Know your purpose
When you don’t know your purpose or you operate outside your purpose, whatever you achieve is sub-optimal. Your purpose is your reason for being. It goes without saying that if you miss your reason for being, you’ve failed!
Knowing your purpose will ensure that you expend your energy on things that are most important. There are many causes that will call for our attention. It’s the knowledge of our purpose that will give you the power to resist the temptation to yield to ‘good’ causes that have no bearing with your purpose.
You can read more about this subject here: http://waleadeniranye.com/how-to-find-your-life-purpose/
Step 2: Identify your gifts (talents, skills).
Your gifts, talents or skills are the tools for delivering on your purpose. When you know your purpose, you don’t have to look too far to identify the talents you need to realize that purpose. The talents may be unrefined meaning you need to work on them but the fact is that they are there. All you need to do is to search them out and work on them.
When you start making use of your talents, you find yourself making progress. Over time, people begin to reckon with you. Before you get recognized, the joy you experience when you exploit your talent will ideally give you the staying power to continue in what you’re doing. A note of caution: If you’re unable to meet your expenses, you may have to engage in a temporary job to keep your body but you shouldn’t lose focus of your purpose.
Did you realize that nobody asks, “Why is Tiger Woods not a good lawn tennis player?” The reason we don’t hear that is because Tiger Woods has over time honed his skills on what he’s best at and everyone has come to accept him for what he’s best at. When you identify and use your gifts, everyone will also accept you for what you’re best at.
Step 3: Exploit your gifts maximally
After identifying your gifts or talents, you should exploit them to the fullest. In finance, one of the indices for measuring a company’s efficiency in the use of its assets is the asset utilization ratio (ratio of the company’s turnover to the value of total assets). The higher the asset utilization ratio, the more efficient and invariably the more profitable (relative to its asset base) the company is.
What applies to companies applies to you and me. We should use our gifts and talents (assets) to the maximum. The more we use them, the more productive we become and the more profitable our lives are.
What Giving Has To Do With Blessedness
One of our greatest needs in life is happiness. It’s said to be our primal need. Every tangible thing we desire in life is a means to an end. That end is our need or desire to be happy.
The Scripture makes us understand that the fastest route to that desirable end (happiness) is giving. This obviously goes against everything we know about increase or becoming more. How giving leads to happiness is not something one can easily comprehend.
My best explanation of this phenomenon is that giving is one of the attributes of love. When you love, you give (share what you’ve got). The next level is that God is love and everyone that gives freely to others has God’s nature. The final level is that those that have this divine nature of God (love) become partakers of blessedness (supreme happiness or joy).
A life devoid of joy and happiness can’t be said to be profitable. Therefore, one sure way to a profitable life is to give to others. When you think about it, following the above steps is a way of giving to the world. Everyone that has made a positive impact on the world knew his or her purpose, identified his or her gifts and talents and exploited the gifts maximally.
How to live a profitable life is best illustrated by the Parable of the Talents which Jesus told in Matthew 25: 14 – 30. The story was about a man who gave talents to his servants before embarking on a journey. To one of the servants he gave 5 talents, to another he gave 2 talents and to the last one, he gave 1 talent.
It was said that the one given 5 talents put his talents to work and generated 5 additional talents. The servant that was given 2 talents also doubled his to 4. But the servant with 1 talent did nothing with his – he hid it!
When their master came back from his journey, he asked the servants to give account of their stewardship of the talents he gave them. The first two servants told their master how they put their talents to work and doubled them. These servants were rewarded with unending joy and happiness by their master. However, the servant who hid his talent was cast into a place of everlasting sorrow.
Lessons of the Parable of the Talents
- Everyone has gifts or talents to work with.
- What you do with your talent is entirely up to you.
- The minimum expectation is that you double your talents after a reasonable length of time.
- We would all give account of our stewardship of the gifts we’ve been given.
- Profitable servants (those that maximally use their talents) will be given more talents and at the end be rewarded with eternal life.
- Unprofitable servants will suffer damnation.
- Those that refuse to use their talents will have the same fate as the worst offenders known to man.
To live a profitable life, you must know your purpose, identify your gifts or talents and exploit your gifts or talents maximally. When you follow these steps, you will be given more talents to work with and at the end be rewarded with eternal life.