With this being the 200th distinct post created as well as the 6th Anniversary of the website, I want to acknowledge the continuance of this blog. The word that comes to mind is, furtherance. The definition of furtherance is the advancement of a plan or interest, the act of furthering something along. To still be generating meaningful content is an extended mountaintop experience for me.
My blog has touched on the concept of furtherance many times over the years. Press On is the most obvious. Also, the theme of change occurring by moving forward without tearing down and starting over is significant. Several others like Come to balance, Leaning forward, Building Bridges, all touch on the concept of furtherance.
The key is to never stop moving, never settle for the status quo. Always be looking to find a way, be it with baby steps or bold dashes into the unknown. When stuck, get creative, brainstorm, shake loose, and think outside the box – whatever it takes. Find new strategies that fit our values and our situation to get going toward the next goal or the horizon.
A great example of furtherance became a signature achievement of President John F. Kennedy. In 1960 he advocated for Americans to serve their country and their world in new ways but was not making much progress within his own administration. In a passionate declaration over a sticking point to create the Peace Corps, Kennedy blurted out, “Well, you shake that out and we’ll move ahead.”
Acts of furtherance can be needed but short-lived moments, like taking an opportunity to reflect and ponder a new path, resting and enjoying success, or catching our breath before moving on. They can also be minor acts that require near-term focus on the journey. In the words of E.L. Doctorow, a novelist and professor, “In driving through the night, you never see further than your headlight beam, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
Life goes forward. The way we live each day is woven into a narrative that becomes our story. The past is defining who we are today and what we do today will define who we will be in the future. The choices we make today will affect our tomorrow as well as become the past we live with. I love the way Christian Pastor and Speaker Andy Stanley summarizes it, “The present will one day be my past that will show up in my future.”
Covering all the bases of furtherance, the Scottish minister, John Baillie, had a prayer to look forward, and upward:
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use anxiety as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use criticism as material for learning;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for self-control;
Let me use pain as material for endurance.
While playing golf, a well-educated friend of mine told me, “My furtherance was really, really good, but my towardance was really, really bad!” Others, more pragmatic, have told me that I was “long and wrong.” In other words, I hit it a good distance but not straight or accurate. Business is about furtherance and towardance, too. It doesn’t matter how far we go if we’re going the wrong way. Stephen Covey had the expression; we are busy climbing a ladder which is leaning against the wrong wall. Speed, force, power, and determination are all important in business and drive a company’s forward motion. However, I have seen individuals or leadership teams with their speed, force, power, and determination all pointed in the wrong direction.
In Scripture, “furtherance” is used only a few times. It is the translation of “prokope” – a going forward, advancement. It occurs in St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in 1:12, “the furtherance of the gospel” and in 1:25, “furtherance and joy of faith.” In 1 Timothy 4:15, it is translated “profiting.” There, Paul urged a young Timothy to continue studying the things of God “that thy profiting may appear to all.”
Paul wrote his epistles while he was unjustly imprisoned in a Roman jail, after being imprisoned and beaten in a Philippian jail (Acts 16:12-40). He had the spiritual insight to realize that what seemed like great problems and difficulties could be used by God for “the furtherance of the gospel.”
Early Christians took Jesus’ example to heart and changed their world as a result. Today, we also have God-given opportunities to demonstrate the furtherance of our faith in action. When we follow Jesus’ example by washing the feet of those we lead, we can then inspire them to “wash one another’s feet” (John 13:1–14).
Regarding the furtherance and continuance of my blog – thank you Holy Spirit! There is no way I do this on my own.