Today we present my three-step guarantee on how to make money from Facebook.
Step 1: Open Facebook, go to “Account settings.”
Step 2: Press the button that says, “Deactivate your account.”
Step 3: Now, get back to work.
We live in a world that’s ripe with get-rich-quick schemes. I hate to break it to you, but you know that Nigerian prince who wants your banking info so he can deposit $4 million in your bank account? His name is Bert. He lives in Ohio. And he’s a pathological liar. Unless you end up unearthing the world’s largest diamond in your driveway, your chances of getting rich overnight are about as good as my chances of waking up tomorrow morning with a full head of hair. The elevator to success is out of order. You’ll have to take the stairs one step at a time.
Researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours. The neurologist Daniel Levitin says, “In study after study of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals…no one has yet found a case in which true world class expertise was accomplished in less time.” As a teenager he developed an obsession with programming. A local college gave him access to a computer where he practiced for hours every day. By the time Bill Gates founded Microsoft, how many hours of programming do you think he’d put in? You’re right. About 10,000.
There’s no substitute for practice. The best husband practices loving his wife every day. The best father puts down the remote and picks up his kids. I couldn’t pick my kids up today without suffering a hernia, but my grandchildren are just the right size. In Philippians 4:9, the Apostle Paul writes, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Those of us who want to grow in our knowledge and love of God must make and take the time. Time to invest. Time to practice.
I easily find time for hobbies and football. But I have yet to regret making time to pick up my Bible and read it. Or getting on my knees talking and listening to God. Thanking Him. Asking for help. I’ve found that He’s more than happy to give it. Speaking of help, a commercial online wants to help me out. I can make $200 an hour just by stuffing envelopes. All I have to do is send in my Visa card number. I think the guy behind it is Bert from Ohio.
Years ago there was a famous football coach who hired an assistant coach named Mike. Now Mike was going to help make the team great. One of the most important things he would do was recruit new players. One day the head coach sat down with Mike. “Now listen here, Mike,” he said. “When you recruit, there’s a kind of player that gets knocked down and stays down.” And Mike said, “Oh, Coach, we don’t want that kind of player, do we?” “No sir,” said Coach, “we don’t want that kind of player. But, Mike, there’s another kind of player. You knock him down, he gets back up, you knock him down again, and he stays down.” Mike said, “We don’t want that kind of player, do we coach?” Coach said, “No sir, we don’t want that guy. But, Mike, there is another kind of player. When you knock him down, he gets back up. You knock him down, he gets back up. You knock him down, he gets back up again. And no matter how many times you knock him down, he gets back up.” And Mike said, “Coach, that’s the guy we want, right?” And Coach said, “No, we don’t want him either. We want you to go find the guy that’s knocking everybody down!”
Well, if you’ve lived very long at all, you’ve been knocked down. You’ve been flattened and crushed and discouraged. You’ve said, “I can’t go any lower. I’ve hit rock bottom. I feel like those snails must have felt trying to get on the ark.” In such times it’s helpful to think of others who got back up. One wanna-be actor took his first screen test. And the testing director of MGM wrote in a memo, “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” You know him as Fred Astaire. One salesman took his recipe to 1,000 potential buyers before getting a single nibble. You know him as Colonel Sanders. His recipe was “finger lickin’good.” Fred and the Colonel knew that triumph is just “umph” added to “try.”
Perseverance and consistency are vital to our spiritual lives. When Jesus told the parable of the seeds, he ended it this way: “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Promise me you won’t stop praying, serving, giving, and loving. Faithfully do the job God has called you to today, whatever it may be. I think we should be like a postage stamp. Let’s stick to something, until it gets there.
Few things give me more pleasure than reading apologies from newspapers. Like these: “Due to a typing error, Saturday’s story on local artist Jon Henninger mistakenly reported that his bandmate is on drugs. It should have read that he was on drums.” “Apology: I originally wrote, ‘Woodrow Wilson’s wife grazed sheep on the front lawn of the White House.’ We inadvertently left out a word so that it read ‘Woodrow Wilson’s wife grazed on the front lawn of the White House.’” Well, we’ve all regretted some errors we’ve made, haven’t we? And sometimes we’ve tried to fix them without success.
The following ad appeared in a newspaper on a Monday. “For sale: R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.” On Tuesday the following apology was printed. “Notice: We regret having erred in R. D. Jones’ ad yesterday. It should have read, ‘One sewing machine for sale cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly, who lives with him after 7 P.M.’” Another clarification appeared in Wednesday’s newspaper: “Notice: R. D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying phone calls because of the error we made in the classified ad yesterday. The ad stands correct as follows: ‘For sale–R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him.’” The final ad ran Thursday. “Notice: I, R. D. Jones, have no sewing machine for sale. I intentionally broke it. Don’t call 948-0707 as I have had the phone disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she has now quit.”
Apologies. Some of us aren’t so good at it. I’ve said often that my marriage is a miracle marriage and it’s true. My apologies were the absolute worst. I once said, “If it makes you feel better, I’ll pretend you’re right.” Here are words I have learned to say and to mean them: “I am sorry for saying what I said. I was absolutely wrong. I want to do whatever I can to avoid doing this again. Will you please forgive me?” At the heart of every single one of our apologies should be the realization that we have been forgiven so much. By others. By God who promises that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Time for one more newspaper apology. And it’s genuine. “Readers may have noticed that the Valley News misspelled its own name on the front page yesterday. Let us say for the record, ‘We sure feel silly.’” That’s not a bad place to start.
I’ve spent much of my life in a small town. “How small?” you ask. About 50,000 if you include ants, but the humans number 3,000 and change. Are you from a small town? You might be from a small if you couldn’t buy cigarettes because the store clerks all knew your age. You might be from a small town if running from the cops meant hiding in a corn field. You might be from a small town if you thought it was normal to have an old man drive a riding lawnmower around town, or if a night on the town took about four minutes.
Few things are more exhilarating than a small-town newspaper’s “Police Beat” section. Here are a few samples. I’m not making these up. “Thursday at 3:20 PM a resident who needed help opening a jar called police for assistance. The police opened the jar.” “1:03 PM, a sick raccoon was reported in the 600 block of Pleasant Avenue. The raccoon appeared to be healthy. No action was taken.” “Friday night, police received a report of suspicious behaviour on Marshall Street. Turned out to be four males with flashlights comparing facial hair.” “October 29: Pumpkin taken from Mountview Drive property and returned carved.”
Wherever we live, there are opportunities to carve other people’s pumpkins, to practice kindness, to be in community. One day our doorbell rang and a five- or six-year-old kid was standing there. He lifted his finger to show me that it was bleeding. “Ow,” he said. I washed the tiny cut, put a Band-Aid on it, and waved goodbye. “What’s your name?” I asked. But he was gone. I have no idea who he was.
As the sun set one night, a friend from church came over in a panic. His very young daughter was missing. The last thing she had said to him was, “I’m gonna run away.” I called three friends who called three friends and within 20 minutes half the town was scouring the streets with flashlights, searching the darkness. Those who couldn’t search prayed. We found her, hiding beneath the long branches of a pine tree. And I thought to myself, I almost missed this little miracle because I am a busy guy who considered not answering the doorbell and filling my time with less important things.
One small town newspaper had a “Deaths” section. But no died that week, so they just put “Deaths are coming.” They were right. “Teach us how short our lives are,” wrote the Psalmist, “so that we may be wise.” Wherever we are, let’s make time to reach out. When we bring joy to others, we bring it to ourselves as well. It won’t make headlines, but then again, you never know.
Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life. He is the best-selling author of twenty-five books including Laughing Matters, Who Put My Life On Fast Forward? I Used to Have Answers…Now I Have Kids,Making Life Rich Without Any Money, and Family Squeeze. Residing in Alberta, Canada with Ramona and their three children, Phil’s desire is to see the joy of the Lord cover Canadians from coast to coast.
“Our heart’s goal is that people across our nation will see the life God has for them, and rediscover the joy of Christ in their life through the Gospel message.” – Phil Callaway