The late former-President Nixon spent his years out of office writing. I understand he wrote 10 books in his “retirement” and often was on the public speaking circuit. As the only President who resigned his office in disgrace, his return to public life was rather impressive.
Richard Nixon was a very intelligent man and his understanding of foreign policy was remarkable. Few people however, realize he was a great negotiator. I recently ran across a booked called Richard Nixon’s 10 Commandments of Statecraft written by James Humes back in 1997.
The book’s sub-title is what made me pick up this work. It reads, His Guiding Principles of Leadership and Negotiation caught my eye. Richard Nixon’s first “commandment” as described in that book is “Always Be Prepared to Negotiate, but Never Negotiate Without Being Prepared.”
Whether you’re buying a car or making a sales presentation, if you are prepared, you have a much better chance of being successful. Being prepared tilts the scales toward a favorable outcome.
What strikes me is how poorly many of us incorporate this fundamental truth into our spiritual life. We fail to read, pray, and invest in our spiritual health. Then wonder why we don’t hear God or don’t see Him working in our life. We think just appearing at church a couple times a month makes us a strong believer, but we put no effort into reading and understanding His Word.
I think this may be part of what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 7, verses 24 through 26.
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (NKJV)
I know we traditionally teach this as Jesus pointing out that He is the rock and we need to build our foundation on Him. I totally agree with that point. But I think this goes much deeper. What does it mean to have ourselves “founded on the rock” in the context of this verse? Isn’t this verse also saying how we need to be prepared? The wind, rain and floods mentioned in these verses come to both the wise and foolish builder. What is different about the two builders? It’s their preparation isn’t it?
Preparation takes work. Am I going to make the necessary effort to prepare for life or am I just going to do enough to get along and hope I do ok?
I close with the words of Richard Nixon, “Always be prepared to negotiate, but never negotiate without being prepared.”
Blessings My Friend