Genesis 42:1 “Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?”

The difference between Joseph and his brothers was that Joseph had initiative and his brothers did not, and that is why Joseph moved up in position and his brothers did not. In the verse above, it was Jacob who had to tell Joseph’s brothers what to do. He asked them, “Why do you look one upon another?” Jacob was telling them that their staring at each other was not going to change their situation. Jacob told them in verse 2, “I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.” Had Jacob not thought for these men, they would have died. Joseph learned initiative from his dad, and that is why God used him to the great capacity that he was used.

You will never do anything great in life or be a good leader if someone has to tell you what to do all the time. At some point, you must have the initiative to do things without someone telling you what to do. Initiative is defined as the ability to assess and initiate things independently. It does not matter how much talent or education you have; initiative is what separates the talented, educated, and the gifted from those who rise to the top. There are several things that initiative requires if you are going to be a person who does things without others having to tell you to do it.

First, initiative requires thinking. You can't wait for others to think for you and have initiative at the same time. At some point you need to start thinking for yourself. If you always have to run to the one in charge to ask how to do something, you will always stay at your present level or position. God gave you a brain to think; if you had initiative, you would use that brain to think and find yourself not having to depend on others to figure out a way through situations.

Second, initiative requires self-motivation. If you have to wait for others to tell you what to do, you often will not do anything. Those who catch the attention of the one who has the power to promote you are those who don’t wait to do what needs to be done. The one with initiative will do what needs to be done without anyone telling them to do it, and it is that type of person who rises to leadership position.

Third, initiative requires vision. Joseph was a man of vision who had the ability to look ahead and see what God could do through his life. The person with initiative is often a visionary. It takes initiative to look ahead to see what can be done and what needs to be done, and it takes initiative to start and work of the vision you see. We love what visionaries do, but we could be a visionary if we had the initiative to think and look ahead at what God could do if we had the faith and courage to initiate the vision.

Fourth, initiative requires the realization of responsibility to others and to duty. The person with initiative realizes that their responsibility must always be fulfilled. The person with initiative lets duty dictate what they are supposed to do instead of waiting for others to tell them what to do. The one thing you will see about those with initiative is that they don't wait for deadlines to get things done; they get things done immediately and often well before the deadline.

Are you a person of initiative? You will find that God can you use in a much great way if you stop waiting for others to tell you what to do and just do what needs to be done.

Dr. Allen Domelle

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