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“Baby Steps!” Numbers 33: 1-49 Key verse(s): 2a: “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey . . .”



I opened up the paper the other day and there staring me right in the face was a “huge success.” The newspaper was focusing on people who had made it; you know, those who just always seem to make the right decision at the right time to catapult themselves into success, honor and notoriety. The picture was of a fifty-something man sitting inside of his car smiling from ear to ear. The headline was “Franchising has become popular among people in their 50s, 60s.” I looked at the picture again. Head tilted cockily toward the camera, eyes bright, a beautiful mop of carefully combed hair, and that broad, broad smile. I realized at that moment I was looking at myself, myself as a fifty-something success if only life had been kinder in my thirties and forties. But, here was this guy, only two years older than me, sitting in his beautiful car and smiling from ear to ear; smiling because he had made it, he was on top of the franchise world and life just couldn’t get any better than this.


I began to read the story and discovered how he had invested just the right amount of time, money and effort to grow a very successful computer repair business. He had made the right capital decisions at the right time and in the right place. And now he was very successful, able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labors. The look on his face was a look of almost effortless ability. “Hey, look at me! This could be you sitting in this car you know. If you had been as smart as me, with my sense of great timing, and, of course, a full head of wavy hair, you would be sitting in this car right now.” I stared at that picture, stroking the few strands of hair on my chrome dome, and wondered how he had been so lucky. Not only was his hair full and in place, but he was looking at a retirement that would be full of promise and material rewards. Man how I wished I could have rocketed to success like that. Sitting atop the franchise world looked pretty good to me at that moment. It also seemed like a much better path to success than this daily plodding that I was doing.


“Step by step little bits!” It’s hard to see sometimes that what appears like instant fame and success may really have been nothing more than a whole bunch of enabling baby steps. I went back and finished the story about franchising and discovered that the guy with the wavy hair had pretty nice hair but, perhaps, there was little else he had over me than that. His path to success and sitting in that car had been circuitous and slow. It took him years and a lot of work and a whole bunch of mistakes to star in that photo. The article chronicled the laborious process that took him to the top. It had not been an easy journey, but there was one thing that he had done right all along. When he made a business mistake, he learned from it and moved on, trying not to repeat that same mistake twice. He had kept a careful log of his progress throughout his career, a business diary of sorts. This was his real key to success; being able to identify failure, build on the experience and move on always with an eye on improvement, never dwelling on the losses. Perhaps that’s why God commanded Moses to chronicle His people’s pathway through the desert; to create a log from which past errors could be recorded in an effort to avoid future mistakes. Keeping a similar spiritual diary, a record of successes and failures, would be a good way of avoiding costly spiritual mistakes that we don’t wish to repeat. Baby steps like this usually pay off!

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