A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
Instinctively, we exhibit some proactive traits when we decide to travel abroad. We make sure that the following items are ready way ahead of the day of departure – a valid passport, cash, credit cards, medicine and toiletries.
Some of us proactively check our car for road worthiness before embarking on a long journey. Among other things, we ask ourselves whether the tyres and brakes are in good condition.
Being proactive means we act in advance of an anticipated event or difficulty in the future. We do not just react to something when it happens.
By being proactive, we avoid this negative tendency – being reactive to a situation when it crops up.
Though the word ‘proactive’ is not found in the Bible, there are many instances where this important principle of ‘being proactive’ is being alluded to.
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3, Proverbs 27:12).
Who would have been so “silly” to build a gigantic boat on dry land? But Noah was being proactive when he built an ark and so was saved from judgment. “By faith Noah when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
Being warned by Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean cows, Joseph as the Prime Minister of Egypt instructed grain to be stored during times of plenty so that the Egyptians will not have to starve when famine struck. By being proactive, he also saved his own family during famine (Genesis 41: 25-36).
The wise virgins who had filled their lamps with oil were ready when the bridegroom arrived whereas those who were ill-prepared were left out of the marriage feast (Matthew 25:1-13). Are we prepared for Christ’s second coming?
The dishonest steward used his position to gain favour in the eyes of those who owed his boss money. He was being proactive; in the event he got retrenched in future, he could seek help from the debtors. Though Jesus did not condone his actions, Jesus used this parable to teach believers how to be wise in managing their money to achieve eternal goals (Luke 16:1-13). “If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” (Luke 16:11).
We should not think of venturing into a project without first counting the cost; otherwise we will face ridicule if we cannot complete the task due to underestimation of the cost. By the same token, before we decide to follow Christ, we must be aware of the cost involved (Luke 14:27-30).“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God”(Luke 9:62).
We need to recognise the fact that, one day, we will have to give an account to God for the way we have lived our lives on earth. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
“BE PROACTIVE” – the first habit in the best-selling book, “THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE” – is not only relevant in the field of management and personal effectiveness.
This all-important principle, “BE PROACTIVE”, is also relevant in the many other areas of life:
1. Financial planning. *
2. Stewardship of our gifts, talents and resources.
3. Setting our house in order before we leave this earth. **
4. Counting the cost of discipleship.
5. Preparation for Christ’s second coming.
Like the word ‘Trinity’, the word ‘proactive’ is not found in the Bible. However, the concept – “BE PROACTIVE” – is being alluded to in many instances in the Bible. Let us take heed by meditating on – and practising – this all-important principle and, as a result, become wiser.
* TALKING “RINGGIT AND SENSE” BEFORE YOU RETIRE
Biblical insights on financial planning for retirement