When I was a young person, I bought 100 baby chicks for a 4-H agricultural youth club project. Before long I found myself in the egg business. After getting my first car when I was 16 years old, I started an egg route, delivering eggs to customers directly to their homes.
It was a great surprise for me to discover people were willing to pay a premium price because my eggs were bigger and tasted better than the “store-bought” variety they were accustomed to eating. I called my eggs, “Farm Fresh.” The modern term for this would be “Free-range organic.”
Since I could not afford to buy cages for my chickens, I let my hens fend for themselves and eat bugs or anything else they liked to eat. As a result, the hens and I were all content. This meant less actual labor for me, and the chickens could eat whatever they chose – whenever they chose to eat it. They were “free range” fowl, and happily produced excellent, high-quality eggs.
This first business venture indirectly led to the profession I would pursue for a lifetime – photography. I used the egg money I earned to purchase my first tape recorder and also a 35-millimeter camera. The tape recorder became of lesser importance over time, but the camera birthed my love for capturing images of people and objects on film.
Through this process I learned the value of initiative and innovation. But perhaps an even more important lesson was that there always will be a demand for something unique and better, especially when compared to what the established, big-business guys are doing. This philosophy has served me well throughout the course of my career.
We have seen this demonstrated in many areas of business, especially in the world of technology and computers. Large corporations may have greater resources, manpower and marketing networks, but if you can create something unique and better, you have a great chance for success.
Years ago I discovered this principle applies to the spiritual realm as well. Most belief systems focus on behavior, rituals and rules, ways for supposedly earning divine approval. In encountering the truths of the Bible, I learned God also offers something unique and better – love, grace and mercy that are given freely. In fact, we learn the God of the Bible”saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5). This is unique, totally different from any religion.
Jesus also promised a quality of life beyond anything we could ever imagine. He said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). This was not an empty promise, but something I have truly experienced in my own life.
For times in life when we realize things are not working – on the job, in our homes, or our personal pursuits – God offers the opportunity to make a fresh start. In Isaiah 43:19 He declares, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
If we think in terms of “unique and better,” these and many other biblical promises fit the description.
Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.
1. Think of a product or service that first appealed to you because it seemed unique and better. What was it, and why did it interest you?2. Do you agree with the concept that there is always a demand for something that is unique and better? If so, why do you think people tend to remain attached to old ways of doing things?
3. Have you ever come up with a “unique and better” idea that paved the way for greater success, whether in your own business or where you work? If so, describe that experience.
4. What do you think of the idea that the Bible offers a way for living and believing that is unique and better when compared to all other belief systems and religions?
If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages: Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:3; Romans 6:4,11; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17