He is widely respected as one of the greatest actors of all time. You might say, when Tom Hanks talks, people listen!

Recently, Hanks accepted the Golden Globe Cecil DeMille Award for lifetime achieve-ment. He shared a valuable life lesson he learned as an intern at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival.

There, the director implored his young troupe, “You have got to show up on time, and you have to know the text, and you have to have a head full of ideas. Otherwise I can’t do my job.”

Hanks’ three-step formula for success is applicable across many life circumstances beyond acting. 

“Being on-time” implies being relaxed, liberated from stress, which improves our emotional capabilities. 

“Knowing the text” is actor talk for “be prepared,” which is, coincidentally, the Boy Scout mantra for success in life. 

These two steps build a foundation for utilizing Hanks’ third step: “be full of ideas.” Growth is a result of embracing ideas that break us out of our comfort zones. Employing ideas provides the opportunity for learning and from learning comes growth. Our Creator wired us with minds for creative thought as a key to successful living. 

Fortunately, The Lord also endows all who professes Jesus as their Lord and Savior with the priceless gift of a personal guide. Our helper, The Holy Spirit, when asked and listened to, leads us toward discovering the right thoughts. Whenever we call on The Spirit, this three-step human process for success becomes one-step of faith in seeking inspired guidance. 

The Holy Spirit is from the Father, sent to us by the Son. Jesus said of His Spirit, “He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13).

When we ask the Spirit for help, we receive a trifecta of benefits: Fruit that includes immediate peace from stress; Full preparation to trust in His truth; and creative ideas direct from God. 

Jesus could only be in one place at a time. Yet by His Spirit, He can be with us as our friend and helper all the time, everywhere we go.

Jesus modeled asking our Father in all instances for guidance. He encouraged us to ask for guidance, since the more often we ask, the more often we are gifted minds full of Spirit-inspired ideas. Which begs the question, how frequently do you ask Him for inspired guidance? 

Jesus’ one ambition was to please His Father. Therefore, He did nothing on His own. He listened and did what the Father showed Him to do. He modeled the kind of relationship God intends for us to continuously experience by asking the Holy Spirit to fill our minds with fruitful ideas for every situation. 


Prayer: Father, how many times a day do I think, act or speak on my own initiative, without asking for Your inspired guidance? Lord, help me to desire to seek Your inspiration all the time, just like Jesus modeled! Amen.


Jeff Anderson is Servant Pastor of SERV Kerrville, a nonprofit collaborating with community partners to empower lifelong learning. He welcomes your comments at Jeff@Leadershipinc.us.

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