I was also reflecting on something I stumbled across a few years ago when I was sitting down with a young man who’s father had invited some men to offer our wisdom in a “right of passage” type gathering when this young man turned 16. I noticed that as each one of the men invited shared what they’d written and reflected on, there were some common themes that came out. I wrote them on a napkin and mulled them over for a few days, shared it with these guys and have been noticing that these are real life themes.
To help me remember, I renamed and organized these five things into an acrostic. I call it the ROPES. These are the important things in life, the things that we can grab hold of and trust. Get these things right and life goes well. Have issues in any one or more of these areas, and you’ll inevitably have problems.
Relationships – all of life is about relationships. We’re most happy when our relationships (work, school, family, friends) are in sync. You can’t go wrong when you invest time and energy in productive relationships.
Obedience – This is simple black and white living. It’s where comparisons to others don’t matter and even excellence doesn’t matter (since ultimately it’s based on how you measure up when compared to others). What matters is whether or not we’re being obedient – first to Christ, and then to people in authority.
Priorities – when they’re in order, life goes better, but when they’re messed up…well, so is everything else. Priorities…God, family, work.
Expectations – ever been disappointed when things didn’t turn out how you expected…it’s probably because you didn’t leave room for change and variation…in other words, you had unrealistic expectations. We all expect things, but we need to be willing to productively deal with the curves life throws at is whether big or small
Stewardship – if we understood that we don’t really own anything but God has entrusted us with management of it (kids, cars, time, homes, jobs, finances, etc) we’d be much better off and probably make better decisions. We’d have less debt, more time and be healthier. Got time, money or health problems…I’d bet you haven’t been a good steward of what you’ve been given.
Those are the ROPES and the question is will you live by them or hang yourself with them?